Thank you, Hobby Lobby, for staying open

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The wall plaque I started Sunday in a manic frenzy of creativity. Only slightly ironic, since we can’t “Gather Together” right now.

The words on the Facebook post immediately caused my blood to boil. A social-progressive website smeared the CEO of Hobby Lobby as stupid and irresponsible for deciding to keep his stores open in states where he has not been ordered to shut down.

The blog on this website also ridiculed the Christian-owned company for founder David Green’s letter to employees last week. In addition to citing the measures the stores would implement to keep employees and customers safe, Green said his wife, Barbara, the family’s “prayer warrior,” had three words put on her heart by God during prayer. Those three words: Guide, Guard and Groom. As the letter explained, “We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.”

Yarn and glitter are good, don’t they know?

Another smarmy comment from friendlyatheist.com: Unlike grocery stores, it’s hard to make the case that yarn and glitter are essential products in a time of crisis.

Oh, but they are! Yarn and glitter and scrapbook supplies and paints and sewing supplies are indeed essential during these days of social isolation and anxiety. Just as office supplies are now more important than ever while so many of us work from home.

In fact, art supplies are such a crucial part of so many lives that a local mental health institution has put together client coping kits that contain them. The staff has even put together suggestions for clients to make their own kits. They could include paper, crayons and markers, paints, pre-made design templates for coloring, old magazines or newspapers for cutting out words or phrases for collages, and, of course, household glue. I bet that glitter and yarn would also be good elements for a coping kit.

Beware the manic woman lost in the art aisles, kitchen

Since this worldwide crisis began, and since my scheduling calendar is suddenly bereft of appointments and deadlines, I have behaved like a manic Ever Ready Bunny lost in an art supplies store like Hobby Lobby. These days I have no excuse for putting my arts and crafts projects and unfinished home décor plans on the back burner.

Matter of fact, my husband expressed some mild alarm yesterday at my level of crafty multi-tasking. He watched me start embroidering a little wall plaque with the words “Gather Together,” (ironic now, isn’t it, since we can’t). I put it aside for a bit and hauled out the color-coordinated hoard of neckties left behind by my deceased second husband and began weaving them together to cover the faded cushions of a rocker in the living room. I also wove the red and white gingham ribbon purchased weeks ago into the wire slats of the kitchen pantry shelves, embellishing the kitchen with an additional spot of country décor already present in curtains.

My unfinished necktie chair, put together right now with loose weaving on the bottom and basting stitches on the upright cushion. If I can keep the cat off of it, it might get finished during social isolation productivity.

My excuse? The expired items need clearing out

When the stay-at-home suggestions first blasted from multiple televised news conferences, I went into a frenzy of baking and cooking. My intuition (God, maybe?) told me the freezers needed to be cleared of nearly expired foods so they wouldn’t go to waste. My husband’s reaction to discovering that the meatball package slowly taking on air on the top shelf of the freezer had morphed into barbecue sliders in the crockpot? At first, skepticism, then raised eyebrows, just before the first taste. Then he pronounced them good. Whew!

However, my use of the remaining off-brand Spanish peanuts and the holiday chocolate bark in the pantry (it was starting to take on that expired looking white coating) to make peanut clusters didn’t produce a report card of A; maybe a C+. He only eats them because no other sweets have materialized from the social isolation kitchen…yet. But, oh, the plans I have!

We will discover shortly just how much red and white gingham is overkill.

The hills are alive with the sounds of red gingham

Maybe I should warn him that I have watched Julie Andrews in Sound of Music many times and may find new uses for our curtains during this frenzy of creativity.

Unlike the atheist skeptics, I do believe that God especially touches our hearts during times of crisis…whether we are retirees or company CEOs, housewives or minimum wage retail workers. Even the Wall Street Journal opinion column yesterday noted that this time of fear, anxiety and social isolation could be meant to help us get our priorities straight. Ironically, I see it as a time when we can better connect with each other and our own souls. Now we have the free time to get in touch with our expressive needs through art, writing and music. We can talk to God or the walls or our fellow isolation inmates more often and on a deeper level. We can stay in touch with friends and family. We can pray more often, or perhaps for the first time. We can love ourselves and each other and find imaginative ways to do so, minus the important sense of touch through hugs. We can channel our energies into creative projects while we learn to send healing and hopeful energy waves to our loved ones on FaceTime.

We can do this, my fellow manic, creative bunnies.

Too bad that atheists don’t know it’s all so much easier with God’s help.

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