Reflecting on life in 2020, I remember a book I read many years ago, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. It is an allegory based on the “Song of Songs”. The Song of Songs expresses the desire to be united with God: body, soul and spirit. The main character is journeying through life issues of fear, pride, dryness, loneliness, brick walls, and loss, to name a few. For each milestone on the journey bringing her to new heights, she picks up a pebble to keep as a lesson of faith that she learned along the way.

We love sailing on the ocean, traveling and learning and living other cultures. When the pandemic broke out we were on a cruise in the midst of affected areas: Singapore, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. It became serious to us when I received a text from Delta Airlines stating that our flight to China for our next trip was cancelled. We were in a state of denial because we planned the trip to China and Japan for two years–now cancelled. We became fearful about getting home from the current trip. Flights around the world were cancelling. I placed a pebble on my heart of thankfulness.

With nothing else to do, our house became one of the cleanest homes in Dobson Ranch. John and I worked on long overdue projects. I turned into Betty Crocker (Covid 19 is around my waist). It fostered a sense of pride in me because domesticity has not been my forte. I saw God in these things, but only temporary fulfillment. Spending this much time with my spouse was rewarding and challenging. We are both retired but we have not spent this much time alone together at home in FOREVER. We may be each other’s caregivers in future. There are two pebbles form this lesson love and patience.

A normal Trischan activity that we look forward to every summer is three or four weeks in Sedona. We did go but we were isolated not doing our normal Sedona activities. Listening to the continuous arguments about masks, no masks, social distancing we learned about Deacon Chuck. There has not been much in my life that literally put me on my knees, but this was one of those occasions. As doers we felt helpless. Prayer is all we had for both Chuck and Sylvia. I am still emotional about it. Another pebble for my heart is gratitude.

If it weren’t for the pandemic, 2020 would go down as a year of civil unrest and violence. Unfortunately, the violence that erupted during peaceful demonstrations overshadowed the message of “All Lives Matter EQUALLY”. It is easier to see the negativity and miss the message; we are mindful what triggered the chain of events. Most of us live in the arms of white privilege. Those of us with mixed families of all race, colors and creeds potentially live in fear. Again two pebbles are placed on my heart, hope and compassion

I am now more settled and prayerful. I am still lamenting the hiatus from our life style, the sea, and the people, but realizing we were taking our travel and life style for granted. The last pebble placed in my heart is acceptance.

Love is above all things. The Song of Songs is sensual prayer to the beloved. There is no other book in the Bible like it, a true love story.

I am my Love’s and he is mine
And this is his desire,
That with his beauty I may shine
In radiant attire.
And this will be—when all of me
Is pruned and purged with fire.