Columnist

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful – and funny - life.

What a month we’ve all had.

Our nation is in an upheaval that we’ve not seen in my lifetime. I imagine many people can say that they’ve never seen times like these, although my husband recalls waiting in line for gasoline during the rations of the 1970s. Our kids are out of school indefinitely, as are many students across the country. People have been buying supplies in preparation for a quarantine that could last several months long, although we’re praying it doesn’t come to that.

It has been a challenge for all of us.

Currently, I am still working and I’m grateful for it. The continuation of my paycheck is important, but perhaps more so is the continuation of my routine. I’ve mentioned numerous times how routine oriented I am, and I find in times of stress, that it is even more true.

Certain other things haven’t changed for us.

We still have animals that require care no matter what is happening in the world around us. My husband — and kids, since they’re home —are still feeding cows, cleaning feed areas, scraping manure and doing many other chores related to animal care.

Our bottle calf is thriving, drinking two or three bottles per day. Tonight, I even caught him sneaking a few drinks off another calf’s mom. I know, I just wrote last week that they don’t permit it, and she wasn’t happy when she discovered him, but he sidled right up beside her calf and got a few good mouthfuls before she pushed him away.

Other things that haven’t changed for us include the way we shop. We go once every two weeks and stock up on staples and canned goods and usually once a week for bread, milk and fresh produce. I have ordered most of my paper products online for nearly a year, as that means I only have to enter the superstore-type markets once or twice a year.

Our social calendar hasn’t changed much either.

We mostly keep to ourselves, largely because of the unpredictability of farming and the weather that dictates its schedule. Plus, we only like social interaction in theory. We love our friends, but the thought of actually getting up and going somewhere in the little free time we have is sometimes difficult to swallow.

The hardest part for me has been the temporary closure of my church. We can’t meet for worship, for Bible study, for fellowship. We have had to severely limit our visits to our shut-ins, as they are in the most at-risk group. It has been very difficult, in this time of obvious need of the Lord, to be kept apart from other believers. Still, we know we are complying with recommendations that are in the best interest of all people, and we know God still sees us and cares for us despite these limitations.

We are trying to stay as calm as possible while impressing upon our children the severity of what we’re enduring. We are trying to come together as a family and support our neighbors where we can while remaining apart from them for safety’s sake. We, like so many other Americans, are trying to make the best of a bad situation that is out of our control.

We’ll survive. We all will. And may we be better, more appreciative, more caring human beings when it’s all over.

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