Two weeks ago, my wife traveled from Croatia across the border to Hungary for the weekend without a hitch. She went to a women’s gathering while I stayed at home with our five children. My parents and my mother-in-law helped me manage the whole situation. Our life was completely normal. There were 12 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Croatia.
One week ago, Petra and I went out for breakfast in Zagreb to plan for the upcoming change in our schedule. The government had just announced that there would be no school for at least the next two weeks. With four of our children affected, we had to plan ahead. Thankfully Croatian officials were on the ball. They had already begun recording classes for pupils to watch on television and over the internet. There were 49 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Croatia.
Today, we’re not allowed to cross the border to any other country. We can’t go to a restaurant because they’re all closed. In fact, we’re not allowed to leave our apartment if we’re not getting necessities for my parents or ourselves. Today, or rather right now, there are 206 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Croatia – 78 more than yesterday at this time.
We’ve kept our eye on what’s going on in Italy for awhile now. They are, after all, a ferry ride or highway away from us. The Croatian minister of health has been incredible. He’s been one step ahead the whole time. Yesterday they filled an arena with beds to supplement the hospitals if this situation gets bad fast. Officials have been calm, but strict. Even today, with the high spike in confirmed cases, I feel confident I am in a country where the politicians and health officials are leading wisely.
I’m not sure I can say the same about myself. At home, with five kids between eleven months and eleven years, it has gotten chaotic at times. Sure, it’s nice not driving all over Zagreb to baseball practices, swimming lessons and parent-teaching conferences. But having 5 less-than-mature personalities around me all the time can be draining. So it has been nice having my parents around to help with the kids.
Last week, they enjoyed time with our 11 month old Mihej in the park on a daily basis.
But parks around the city were closed on Thursday. And my parents have been told to self-quarantine. So they are no longer able to spend time with their grandkids – one of the main reasons they decided to come to Croatia for a year.
I took the kids out to play baseball a couple times this week. But these sort of outings are also no longer allowed.
So we are at home together for the next 4 weeks at least. This is our new reality. It’s going to take some getting used to. Yet, as I write, I realise that if we are all at home together for the next 4 weeks, we’re going to be just fine. It’ll be challenging. But it’s a lot better than the alternative of one or more of us being hospitalized.
So I’m thankful; thankful for those whose authority we are under; thankful for a wife who has been so very patient during this time; thankful that my parents are close; thankful to more closely observe and interact with my children as they grow and learn.
As I edit this and get ready to post, Zagreb has been shaken by several earthquakes this morning. Among other damage, the first quake broke one of the spires on the cathedral.
A pandemic and earthquakes; it seems like a lot. But we’re still far away from many around the world who are dealing with wars, famines and other catastrophes.
That’s not to say we’re not affected as a family. We are. But Psalm 46 is an incredible help during this time:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
All the events of this week have made this command more relevant and important to me.
May I, may we, Lord, learn to be still and know that you are God.