Authors do all sorts of crazy things to interest readers in their books. At a time when it feels a bit like the world had gone crazy, I thought it would be fun to apply one of these techniques to a blog post. It begins with a question that only your fictional characters can answer. I’ve chosen: what would your character do…during this COVID-19 crisis?
Truthfully, this idea came to me when I should have been sleeping last night. It’s my own fault. I took a pre-dinner nap in front of the fireplace and didn’t set an alarm. Bad idea for nighttime sleeping. Good idea for relaxing with the kitties.
It’s not like I had anywhere to be, right?
For the purpose of this blog, I’m going to share with you how my three biblical characters from the Reflections series might respond to this current crisis. Of course, they would be responding in First Century Palestine so it would be quite different from how we might respond. Or would it?
Martha of Bethany
Martha (from A Laboring Hand) is a hardworking caregiver. She’s no stranger to illness that strikes a wide audience of people like COVID-19 has done in our era. In fact, when a polio epidemic struck hard at her family when she was a young teenager, she showed her true character. Or maybe that’s when her character began to form.
Martha cared for her brothers and her mother and even her father, all of whom were sent to their beds by the horrible disease that summer. She cooled their feverish foreheads with wet linen clothes and spooned broth down their throats.
In light of this new virus, Martha would lock her siblings in the house and set about caring for her clients. Her survival all those years ago proved she had a strong constitution. Sure, she’d wash and boil linens and sleep on a rug in the main room so she wouldn’t expose her younger sister to anything, but she wouldn’t stop taking care of others.
This mindset reminds me of the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare professionals of our century. Thank you for your Martha willingness to be in the viral line of fire to care for those who need help every day and long beyond the end of your shift.
Mary of Nazareth
Mary of Nazareth (from A Pondering Heart) has a bit of experience dealing with widespread sickness. What mother of multiple children doesn’t?
Mary would nurture her family as she has done from the very first day she met her firstborn son, Jesus. Her love for them would extend to wiping brows and spooning broth like Martha does for everyone, but it would also hold them close and offer soothing words and comforting prayers.
This mother is less concerned about contracting sickness and more compelled to minister the myriad hurts of her brood. Her knowledge and access to remedies might be limited, but the capacity of her heart to love those God has entrusted into her care exceeds limitations.
She will keep non-family members away and protect her “babies” with every breath. If she feels feverish, it won’t keep her from caring for them.
To every mother who has a sick child, or even more fearful during this pandemic-a sick parent-your giving heart might never earn gratitude from those you love, but I thank you. God’s greatest gift, after His Son, is a loving mother.
Mary of Bethany
Ah, sweet, joyful Mary (from An Adoring Spirit). She’s not surprised to be told to “stay home” by her bossy big sister. She smiles and picks up her broom. She sweeps her way around her brother and concedes to Martha’s concerns of contagion by waiting to trek to the well for the day’s water needs.
She hums a song of praise as she skips along a less-traveled path. Although she ducks respectfully to the few she passes, her veil is pressed over her mouth and nose. Didn’t Martha say sickness was breathed in? Mary would hate to catch it and pass it along to Lazarus whose predilection toward illness predates her memory.
Mary weaves blankets and sends gifts with Martha for those her sister aids. Each colorful creation has been crafted with petitions for healing and seems to soak in her joyful singing. She listens to her sister’s reports of more people contracting the strange illness, and she adds each one to her daily prayers.
When the walls begin closing in and Lazarus’ breathing sounds heavy, she prays harder. Faith in the face of trials and loss is all Mary can rely upon. She knows all about losing people she loves and the hurtful experience of a Father who says, “No.” But she won’t let emotions sidetrack her from weaving, singing, praying and peddling joy with every breath.
I admire men and women whose faith comes through the fire pure and beautiful. I’ve struggled to be Mary during this difficult time when I miss holding my grandchildren and gathering with other believers. I hope for a trial-fired faith at the end of this pandemic.
The Reflections Series
The best news I have in light of the over-supply of not-so-great news is that the entire Reflections series is on sale. Until April 20, 2020, you can pick up digital copies of this trilogy for less than $5.00!
If you haven’t read this series, it’s the perfect time. Why not experience the first Easter with three women whose perspectives might enlighten you and send you straight to the source of joy and peace during these turbulent times?
Now it’s your turn: how are YOU responding to the COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine and continual media coverage?
2 thoughts on “How Would They Respond to COVID-19?”
I feel like people back then had a better idea of how to cope with this kind of thing. In the first place, they had the Law of Moses providing detailed hygiene rules around sickness and death. In the second place, they started from a world-view of “life is uncertain but God is in control” – whereas most of us in the West these days seem to think that we should be able to control what happens in our own lives. And it just adds to the trauma when we are confronted with the truth that we can’t.
I think the fact their life expectancy was half what ours is had a lot to do with the sense of mortality. Death is part of life. We tend to forget about that. I had fun climbing back inside these women’s minds to imagine how they might respond. I hope you’re holding up fine in the Southern Hemisphere. Thoughts and prayers, friend. Sharon