I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love and encouragement I received last week, when I shared that I caught and recovered from COVID-19 earlier this year. I was not originally sure whether I would ever write about it, as I still cannot accommodate the sensation of bottomless panic I felt during the long and pregnant pause after I told my mother I had become symptomatic, or the torturous visions I had of Mr. Magpie raising our two children alone —
Let me catch my breath.
But sometimes I lay in bed at night and fret over the frivolous tone of particular posts in the context of this historical moment, and I felt I owed you an explanation.
Though forming the first paragraph above has made clear to me that I would rather write about nearly anything else on the planet right now, I did want to share two things that carried me through the scariest days of the illness because there may be other Magpies silently enduring their own challenges (health-related and otherwise). The first is the relatively new-to-me modality of books on tape and the second an excerpt from a reflection by a Franciscan friar, Father Rohr.
There was a day when I felt so unwell that I could not open my eyes to look at the TV, but I was terrified to lay alone with my own thoughts. Instead, I listened to Jessica Simpson’s Open Book. Her down-to-earth spirituality and earnestness coupled with juicy celebrity gossip hit just right. She reads her book with a delicious kind of extravagance: there are some passages where it sounds like she’s about to cry, or unable to breathe — so intensely she is feeling her own words! — and others where she appears barely able to suppress a laugh. I found her to be a winning and distracting companion and she has forever earned a place of affection in my life because of it. Later, on the road to recovery, I started Ann Patchett’s Dutch House, narrated by Tom Hanks, and the familiar timbre of his voice was deeply comforting while the details and characters of the novel transportive. These audiobooks were life-giving. I have not been an audiobook lover for long; I just started an Audible trial earlier this year, on a whim. I am convinced God made the introduction because He knew I’d need it.
Providence also introduced me to Father Rohr. One of you lovely readers pointed me in his direction months ago and, curious, I signed up for his newsletters. Many mornings, I skip over them in my inbox. A couple days into my illness, I decided to open one and there, in the middle of the page, were the words I desperately needed to hear. I have since copied them onto a little card I keep in my bedside table and screenshotted them for quick access on my phone, too. I find myself skittish about sharing prayers and spiritual musings on this blog because I don’t like the virtue signaling that tends to accompany such content. But reading this passage — even now, fully recovered for weeks — I feel awash with peace. I thought there might be some of you in search of similar solace and so, let me put my own quibbles aside:
“My life is not about me. It is about God. It is about a willing participation in a larger mystery. At this time, we do this by not rejecting or running from what is happening but by accepting our current situation and asking God to be with us in it. Paul of Tarsus said it well: ‘The only thing that finally counts is not what human beings want or try to do, but the mercy of God’ (Romans 9:16).”
Amen, amen, amen.
+These are 50% off and still available in my size, but low in stock. OMG OMG OMG….
+Don’t know who needs to hear this, but — on weaning.
+This striped dress is absolutely perfect.
+Some thoughts from earlier this year on outward signs of spirituality — the comments from Magpies were really interesting, too.
+In love with these pretty floral belts!!! What a chic way to update your favorite LWD.
+Had to have these.
+I think we’ve talked about this a lot before, but these are my favorite bibs for little ones. They fold up small so you can easily toss them in your bag, are machine-washable, and also wipe clean nicely. I find that Hill almost always tries to choke himself by pulling the hard/molded plastic ones off because they interfere with his food. These he almost always forgets about.
+More great baby mealtime gear here.
+This is a great bubble bath for children — you get a lot of product for a reasonable price, and it really suds up!
+Mr. Magpie bought me a fancy caran d’ache pen a few years ago — I think I need a mechanical pencil by the same brand, too!
+Cute paper plates for your next grandmillennial garden party.
+So smart — a collection of nude footwear that matches nearly any skin tone! Do not underestimate the utility of a nude heel!
+Absolutely love this dress and wish it weren’t sold out in my size.