Sheltering In Placeby Angie

22 Mar 2020
3:03 pm

I mentioned in last week’s post that there we had a rental property on the table: We spent last weekend laboring over the decision. We finally decided to go for it, so first thing Monday morning we asked Sarah, the property manager, to email us a copy of the lease so we could read it before going to her office to sign it that afternoon. She did send it; then emailed us again to ask us if, for the sake of “social distancing” (which was just a recommendation at that point), we would be willing to e-sign the papers. We agreed, then emailed her back about some typos. After a second round of corrections, we were working through e-signing the dozens of lines in the lease agreement when we got a text from Jon sharing the first news posts about the official “shelter in place” order that would go into effect at midnight.

I called Sarah immediately and we talked through the ramifications: We could e-sign the papers, but we would not be able to meet the property owner and get the keys later that week as agreed, nor could we move in until the order was lifted. Would we have to start paying rent on a house we couldn’t live in, or would the homeowner have to take the hit of having no renters for several weeks? If they asked for the former, should we just decline that property after all? In the end, they were kind enough to agree to put the whole process on hold. We didn’t sign the papers, but they promised that when the order is lifted we will be first in line for the house. What a relief!

Monday night was our remote PDX FHE lesson with some of our dear friends from Portland. Since moving away, we’ve been video conferencing in each month while all the Portland locals meet together at someone’s home, but this time the entire group was on Zoom. It feels good to stay in touch with far-away friends. To that end, we also had virtual Sunday School last week with one of our Portland friends, and today my mom joined us in doing it again.

Otherwise, each day has been much like the last. Monday evening, Jon had to stay late at work, getting the necessary technology in place to work remotely; so starting Tuesday morning our whole household has been working from home. We’ve also cleaned, organized, done laundry, and taken inventory. We’ve done texting, phone calls, and letter writing. We’ve spent time playing games and watching movies together. Not much is practically different, but it feels different. There’s a sense of anxious waiting, of holding back, of trying to make the best of a situation we can’t control.

It’s strange to compare this experience to our situation six years ago: In February and March of 2014, Jim and I were living in Georgia, spending time with Kathy in the final days of her life. Jim worked remotely from his parents’ home and we didn’t go out much, cherishing the time together. It was another period of physical and emotional separation from “normal life.” It prompted us to examine our priorities, make sacrifices, innovate our routines, explore new ways to connect, and foster compassion; all actions that Kathy exemplified throughout her life. And this coming week marks the anniversary of her death as well as the anniversary of her birth.

Every Spring I think of her as Easter approaches; as we prepare to celebrate the eternal life we are promised through Jesus Christ and His Atonement. But she is on my mind even more powerfully this year, with so many people experiencing unanticipated challenges and suffering due to COVID-19 and all its ramifications. These experiences have illuminated our place in a global community. It is another time of bittersweet seclusion and connection; another opportunity for change and growth. My heart aches for all those who have felt and will feel the loss of loved ones as we did at Kathy’s death. But I know that she would encourage us to hope in our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all His children throughout the world.

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  1. Joseph Hoffman
    4:23 PM on March 27th, 2020

    Thanks for the update, Angie! Love, Joseph

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