Finding Joy in small moments during COVID-19

By Tim Smalarz

The coronavirus has affected all of our lives in so many ways:  from the way we interact with one another, to the way we work, to the way we learn and to the way we worship, just to name a few.  I’m sure you can think of many other ways as well.  For myself, it’s how I interact with my Dad.

Just a bit of background about my Dad.  He’s 92 years old and moved into the Henry Ford Village senior apartment complex a few months ago after being in his home for 60 years.  This move happened about a year and a half after my Mom passed away.  They were married for 60 years, which to me was an amazing milestone for them.  Needless to say, this was a significant change for him as well as for my brother and me.

He was getting somewhat accustomed to his new living arrangement; then came the coronavirus.  The apartment complex does not allow outside visitors, just the same as other senior apartment complexes.  I was afraid for him, as I usually visited him two to three times a week, and now was unsure how he would deal with the isolation.  My heart was breaking for him and I felt helpless.

During Christ Church Cranbrook’s Sunday Forum a couple of weeks ago, I shared this story with the group.  Hunter Torres, who I also know from the grief support group, offered me a suggestion of what I could do based on something she came across.  That was: go to the complex, stand outside the window and talk to him on the phone.  So that afternoon that’s what I did.  Since he is on the sixth floor, I couldn’t see him as well as I had hoped, but that was okay.  We talked for about fifteen minutes and it brought me such joy.  I’m sure it brought him great joy as well, but he would never admit it as he keeps his emotions pretty much to himself.

I now make this visit once a week, each weekend, as well as a daily phone call.  He continues to be more focused on my brother and me, as he says, “don’t worry about me, I will be okay.”  He’s always telling us to make sure we get enough rest and do the best we can.

On another note, my brother is scheduled for brain surgery to remove a tumor on May 7, which may or may not be postponed.  It weighs heavy on my heart and mind, as it does for my Dad as well.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers for a successful outcome.

We are all facing various challenges during this time in our country’s history.  I’m sure there are some of you who may be dealing with an elderly parent in isolation.  Know that there are others who understand what you are going through.  Whatever challenges you are facing during this unsettling time, we need to put our faith in God who will see us through.  I know that God is watching over my Dad, and I know my Mom is as well, providing him the strength he needs.  Most of all, let us remember the Lord’s greatest commandment to love one another as he has loved us and continues to love us.

In closing, my husband, Jon, and I have been attending Christ Church Cranbrook for nine months.  From day one, we have been warmly welcomed by the amazing clergy and everyone else we have met.  We look forward to seeing everyone we have met, when we all return to our beautiful Christ Church Cranbrook and continue on our spiritual journey together.  We also look forward to meeting more of you as well.  In the meantime, to you and your families and friends, be safe and healthy.  Thanks Father Chris for your suggestion that I share this with the congregation.  Peace and God’s Blessings to all of you.