This was not in my plans!

Squirrel-assisted landscaping

Last weekend I got a drive-by order of mulch for my flowerbeds. After the stress of work as a hospice chaplain, compounded by COVID-19 precautions, I wanted to focus on growing things. Spring gardening is all about optimism and dreams of the future!

I weeded and raked, fertilized and transplanted. Then I followed the directions of my talented daughter with the “green thumbs” to prep the beds for mulching. I laid down a layer of newspaper, and put the mulch on top.

It looked great!!! Until the next morning…

It looked like the squirrels had a party and wrecked my flower beds! Every piece of newspaper was poking out from the mulch. I was annoyed.

This was not in my plans!!

So much of life is like this right now. Nothing is the way we envisioned it at the start of the New Year. It’s as though a bunch of squirrels came in and uprooted our systematic approach to life.

Carefully laid plans for clergy and their congregants are upended. Bible studies. Youth groups. Choirs. Worship bands. Committees. Weddings. Funerals. Confirmations. Baptisms. Long-range planning for fundraisers and capital campaigns. The list is endless…

We are missing out on the events we have booked on our calendars, some of them for months! Travel plans. Family get-togethers. Regular runs to the grocery. Concerts and parties. Political rallies and marches.

Then there’s jobs… While I still have a steady income, I am out and about in the community (which brings its own stressors.) I have friends whose small businesses are struggling. I have coworkers and friends who have no childcare. I have neighbors whose children are home and bored, and others who must stay home because they are immuno-compromised.

I don’t have a lot of wisdom to offer… except to do my part.

I went out and picked up the squirrelly newspaper. I smoothed over the mulch. I’ll have to do this several more times until we have a truce, I guess.

And I’ll keep doing my part as I see my hospice patients. Hand sanitizing protocols. Wearing a mask door-to-door. Wiping down my car, door handles, hard surfaces. Though I can increase my odds of staying healthy, I have no certainty. Nothing in this pandemic is under my control.

I’ll keep doing the little things. Picking up after the “squirrels” in my life. Looking for beauty. Finding ways to laugh. Sending virtual love. And calling out bullsh*t every time I see it.

There are no squirrel-proof plans, friends. There’s just persistence and faith in the One who loves all of us.

Here’s a gallery of sights and sounds that have encouraged me recently. May they help you, too.

Lenten roses (hellebores) in my yard.
Cherry trees on my hospice rounds.
Daffodils reminding me to look towards the Light.
A Sunday “worship service” in my back yard.
Sunlight on my patio.

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