I Need Protection

Karen Gempel // Tales From the Trenches


August 20  

This morning, to steel my nerves about returning to work away from home and back inside the office for the first time in five months, I blasted Lucinda Williams’ gritty rock song, “Protection,” in the car:

I need protection from the enemy of love; I need protection from the enemy of righteousness; I need protection  from the enemy of good; I need protection from the enemy of kindness . . .

(I was really thinking about the enemy of COVID-19, but if there’s a song like that, it’s not as good).

Having recently aged into the “over 65/high risk” category, my husband and I have noticed, for the first time in our lives, that we’ve begun reassuring our five children that we are, indeed, OKAY! Their concerns have slowly crept up on us and have become really apparent with the rise of the virus. But I’ve found this daily questioning about our health and well-being sort of annoying, and frankly, invasive:

Why are you still eating so much red meat? (Because you happened to drop by the one time we’ve had red meat this summer).

You have those kayaks; when was the last time you took them out? (When your mother herniated a disc helping dad get them in the car-top cradles).

Are you at least getting some steps in? Take my old Fitbit; you just have to create a profile and sync it to your computer. (Will you please do that for me)?

Why this questioning? They ask about my work: do I have proper protective gear? am I keeping a safe distance? The tables have turned, and it’s just weird! Isn’t the protective thing my wheelhouse? For thirty-eight years now, I’ve said the Guardian Angel and St. Michael prayers every morning, asking those angels to storm God in heaven for the protection and health of my children. And they have!

They were protected during childhood fevers and middle school, through dating and college life, semesters abroad toting suitcases plastered with labels and multiple copies of emergency numbers. Now I pray their marriages stay holy and my six grandchildren continue to thrive.

Wait—do our kids think we are officially doddering?

My husband John, ever diplomatic, pointed out that they are now at the age of great responsibility with families of their own, and maybe they’re just taking on a more . . . proactive role in our lives, and I shouldn’t be offended, but maybe honored, when they try to look after us. This was a completely new thought to me. It seemed incredulous!

Encouraged, he showed me Proverbs 23:22:

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Maybe he hit on something there! Is this the beginning of payoff time for us, of being loved and protected by the caring hearts we’ve worked so hard to nurture these many years?

I’ll think about that.

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  • oh Karen!!! I LOVE this 🙂 John’s interpretation of them is so sweet. You are not doddering by a long shot, so don’t worry 🙂

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