Storm approaches at sunset

An angry storm approaches the Kluetzman farm in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Preparing for storms helps alleviate the anxiety they can cause -- whether severe weather or a pandemic.

There has been some panic; there has been some peace.

The panic came from the unprepared. There are people who do not watch the skies for a storm; they’re the same people who don’t watch the daily weather reports. For those of us who do storms don’t surprise us much.

The peace comes from knowing the storm is coming but being prepared for it. While we can still be surprised by the veracity of the storm, we have been somewhat prepared for it. We lay in supplies, put away equipment and double-check latched doors. Those actions give us assurance we will be alright.

There is a storm out there now; the question of preparedness is moot. Now we hunker down to wait it out.

These days I am a bit more deliberate with my time, making a list of tasks to do. My right hand aches from a recent surgery so I must ration my time for the most critical chores. Typing and handwriting are limited but I find time to mail a card or letter to someone each day. First-class mail is a powerful thing I believe. Think of the last time a hand-addressed envelope from a friend or family member was received. Remember the feeling a child has when a piece of real mail comes for him or her. Whether it was a birthday card from Grandma and Grandpa, or from a faraway pen pal, it carried weight. It says the recipient is important.

Every afternoon I make a phone call or two. There are many seniors in our church family; they seem to appreciate the light-hearted chatter I make. I like to tell tales of tumbles I have taken and social faux pas I have made. Humor is the best medicine for a day of isolation for all of us. Practicing it daily on my husband keeps me entertained.

On Day 6 of the quarantine I asked my husband, “Do you still like me?”

After a pregnant pause he cleared his throat to speak.

But before he could say anything I seized that moment to pantomime he had wounded me terribly by not having a ready response. Thus we parry and thrust with our verbal fencing. It’s a trusted stage on which we perform daily.

On Day 11 I asked him, “What is the one thing about me you wish you could change?”

Richard gave me “that look.”

I immediately proclaimed that because I asked such an audacious question of him, I in turn am allowed to tell him my answer. I told him I wished he laughed and smiled more. The rest of that day he did.

On Day 16 we video-chatted with our daughter Katie and our granddaughter Emily, 17. It was the first time I had initiated that type of contact with someone. After a moment of trying to aim the phone at my ear instead of my face, we all marveled I could even make the call. At the bottom of the screen I noticed buttons for all those crazy images that can be superimposed over one’s face in the video. I clicked on one and was rewarded with strange ears and a huge nose. Clicking on another I next wore silly glasses and a hat. Emily sputtered with delight.

But it was me who had the best time of it. As everyone laughed at my reactions, I laughed so hard and long that tears streamed from my eyes. For 15 minutes I felt nothing but delight. The more I laughed, the more we all laughed.

The storm was totally forgotten.

But don’t misunderstand me; I do have my moments of uncertainty. We all do. At those times I take a moment to close my eyes, bow my head and say a silent prayer. Instead of giving lip service to God, I ask for peace in my heart and reassurance for my soul. God is in control. God granted me that reprieve of humor. It’s another item I thank Him for.

Ellie Kluetzman moved to a small farm almost 20 years ago; it changed her life. She had a new husband – Richard, a friend of 20 years. Being a mother of three, and soon to become a grandmother, she took a leap of faith. Her eyes have been opened to the beauty of God’s hand in nature and life. She has found contentment on that farm.