Week 1 – Quarantine in Ukraine

Life continues somewhat normally here in this 700 year old village. I drove by the market today, it was bustling with old folks and their bags full, or half full of essentials. I wondered out loud if they even know what is going on in the world. The ‘at-risk’ elderly were not deterred to go get their eggs, bread and milk. It’s the young hiding at home, obeying the rules and responding to fear. Some of these seniors have lived through WWII as children, right here in their backyard. They’ve seen governments come, and go, including one iron fist. A virus, a flu, whatever it is named, might not impressed them enough to break tradition.

A few masks down on main street. I wonder if they are sick, or just wanting a sense of safety. Our cafe wrapped up our 2nd day of ‘to-go’ only.. but hardly anyone came. I don’t blame them. Times are uneasy, the last thing you do is spend it on a coffee when you might not have enough for bread next week. We were however able to bless a few dozen folks with free drinks, we posted on social media if you come and say “God’s Health” in Ukrainian, a common expression when someone sneezes.. you were awarded with a warm treat for free. It brought some smiles – but we’re going to close up until this thing blows over – We are going to try delivery pizza, I think, this Saturday.. been thinking about that for a few years and now seems about as good as time as any to try it! It would be the very first type service in our town’s history, something still quite new even for Kiev. Sort of fun being the first at something..

Weather is warming up. Been nice watching our girls play outside. They are growing so quickly. Abbey’s teacher called today and said they have homework on Viber (Russian messenger type app). She’s been enjoying doing homeschool with the boys. Deb has ramped up schedules and expectations with the older ones. They seem to be adapting well to her efforts.

It’s hard to not be checking my phone every hour, wondering what new laws might be passing, and panic it might instill. So far the stores have food. Most of our neighbors have gardens, but it’s spring and nothing to eat yet. We’ve always joked the world could end around us and our little town would be just fine. I believe that to be mostly true but the problem is I don’t have a garden! I thought today about what skill or trade-able service I could offer the town if push came to shove and I needed to provide for our family. It was a humorous few moments as I considered a few things.. I could teach english, but who needs it if the West was wiped out economically and no longer the power it is? I soon realized many of the ‘talents’ I possess aren’t really essential to living. I don’t weld, I can’t construct, I’m not an electrician, butcher, I don’t cut hair or fix teeth. I am formed by the modern world, living on the backs of my predecessors. Oh, I can type fast.. maybe I could be a secretary.

I believe this event will reveal, when the dust settles, a new uncertainty. I wonder if that’s going to be a good thing. The West has felt so secure, systems immovable.. sort of lends itself to a false sense of superiority. Will there be more empathy among the rich? Will there be more of a collaborative effort among the global powers to work together, or will this move immediately to the blame game and heightened tensions? Time will tell.

I’ve been embarrassed by the Christian response online. “God knows” and other trite, well intentioned but callous religion floating around. Other believers ignorantly quoting ‘prophetic’ pundits who are anxious to cash in on some ego feeding and followership. Why do believers think asserting certainties encourages unbelievers? Loving folks is too hard for shallow religion, relying on parrotted ‘certainties’ without the embodied love in action only looks like we are trying to convince ourselves.. like someone clinging to their life vest and affirming its value as others drown around us.. ‘you should get one of these, look I’m not afraid!” How bold of you Christian! If only you were confident enough to give your vest to others, then, perhaps the world would take notice. The church grew in Acts as faith was met with sacrificial, generous, eternal focused love. It’s not bold to type things, it’s bold to be present, to come alongside and listen and love as the Spirit leads.

Thankful Brent and Bronwyn are in Canada with my parents. Borders locking up for the next few weeks or more. If you are going to be surrounded by a chronically anxious system, you may as well be with those you love! I feel the Lord rebuking and challenging me to pray, I have too been caught up in the sensationalism of this event. I know where my life is hidden, and it’s not in this world. There’s a supernatural love I think that can emerge through uncertainty.. there’s a vulnerability to come alongside our fellow humanity and care, give, support. I don’t know what this whole thing has been revealing in me – but I ask the Lord for grace to adjust and bear His name with more clarity.

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