Corona Survival

I am always learning the same thing:
there is no other way to live than this,
still, and grateful, and full of longing.
Eric Gamalinda,1956

This Corona Virus situation is not my first rodeo. Seventeen years ago, I spent nine months in quarantine while my son Charlie was in treatment for stage 4 cancer at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. No church. No gym. No outings to restaurants, no hosting dinner parties, no visits from friends and family, no Friday night date nights with my husband to the movie theater. Life as I knew and loved suddenly stopped completely. We even had to send our Louis-dog away. It was a scary and totally life-disrupting season. We were sequestered for what felt like an eternity in our tiny little apartment on Riverside and 100th street. Fear was always lurking, and some days it took the seat of honor at our dinner table. There were daily tears and weekly meltdowns. I wall-papered the walls of our apartment with scriptures and encouraging words begging for protection and glimmers of hope. I started writing and took daily walks for just sanity. The hardest part was the “not knowing” what the next day would hold, how bad it would get, and when or if life would ever go back to normal. The Corona virus has made me a passenger again on that rollercoaster ride of up and down emotions. One moment, I’m peaceful, even elated for this time-out-of-time with my family, cooking and taking walks together, phone catch-ups with family and friends, extra time to read and write, and popcorn movie nights. Just as quickly, I can slip into an interior black hole of worry. Corona has called into question the security of everything that is important to me: family, their health, job and financial security, plans and carefree fun. Confinement is demanding my best virtues, revealing some flaws and bringing me daily to my knees.


I remember snorkeling in a beautiful Hawaiian bay when out of nowhere my husband and I got caught in a dangerous rip tide. My first instinct was to fight the tide and swim as hard as I could back to shore. I was no match for the tide. Next, I panicked and tried to jump on my husband’s back which only put us both in jeopardy. It wasn’t until I surrendered and floated with the current that I eventually was brought to a safe and new shore.


These are strange and unsettling times for all of us. We need to be vessels of peace staying afloat, waiting to find our way through the riptide. The confinement during Charlie’s cancer treatment was a frightening time, but more beautifully it was a sacred, God-centered time filled with many surprises of true joy. Following are a couple of suggestions for surviving the Corona Upheaval!

  1. This is not forever. Create a daily routine.
  2. Look for any silver linings.
  3. Make joy a choice and a daily discipline. Enjoy simple things like tea and a cookie at 3 in the afternoon, set the dinner table with fresh flowers, call old friend’s on the phone, escape in a novel.
  4. Try something new like exploring your family tree on, challenge yourself with the NY Times Crossword Puzzle, dare new recipes on my blog (my pesto, chili and granola recipes last for days!), plant an herb garden, visit a museum online (The Louvre, The Vatican, and the MET are surprisingly fabulous!), commit a scripture to memory like “Be still and know that I am God.”
  5. Be kind to yourself. For me, this means time alone spent in nature, voracious reading, exercise, prayer, coffee and dark chocolate.
  6. If you lose your cool, weep an ocean, just fall apart, ask for forgiveness if necessary, and pick yourself up and try again. The sun will come out in the morning.
  7. Be generous. You are suffering, but I assure you there are those in far worse circumstances. Find a way to ease someone else’s burden during this time. Confined at home, one can pray with intentionality and cover lots of people.
  8. Reach out. If you “hit the wall,” email me your phone number at and I promise to call you with a word of encouragement! I taped this prayer for protection above our apartment door in New York City so long ago and now have brought it out again. St. Patrick engraved it upon his armor breast plate:


God with me

God before me

God behind me

God in me

God beneath me

God above me

God on my right, God on my left.


Together we can do this!



Never underestimate the redeeming power of a sense of humor! So many artists and comedians are doing their part in helping us smile through this! Check out Jimmy Fallon’s comedy show from home for a good laugh!

  • Jeanne Marchetti

    March 23, 2020 at 6:06 am Reply

    Thank you.?

    • sandra silverstein

      March 23, 2020 at 9:03 am Reply

      Thank you Farrell, always you are an inspiration, my oldest daughter read this and said to me, Im stopping at Trader Joe’s on the way home and buy flowers for the dinner table…….

  • Amey Warder

    March 23, 2020 at 6:19 am Reply


  • Cindy Lassing

    March 23, 2020 at 6:40 am Reply

    What a sweet, comforting post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Celestia ODonnell

    March 23, 2020 at 6:40 am Reply


  • Celestia ODonnell

    March 23, 2020 at 6:42 am Reply

    ❤️ so encouraging

  • Bell Newton

    March 23, 2020 at 6:44 am Reply

    Awesome! A great way to start the week! Thank you! ❤️

  • Kathy Davis

    March 23, 2020 at 6:48 am Reply

    Thank you, Farrell!

  • Anonymous

    March 23, 2020 at 7:15 am Reply

    Great post! Keeping us positive and hopeful!

    • Betsy Brack

      March 23, 2020 at 9:07 pm Reply

      Thank you. Just thank you.

  • Margaret King

    March 23, 2020 at 7:17 am Reply

    You always say it best ❤️

    • Mary Lou Johnson

      March 23, 2020 at 8:29 am Reply

      You have a gift for knowing just what to say. Sending you and your sweet family much love.
      Mary Lou

  • Judie Stroup

    March 23, 2020 at 7:17 am Reply

    Farrell, this is my 1st rodeo. When I read yours was 9 months, I quietly gasped. It immediately dawned on me that we don’t know how long the order to”stay inside” will be for us, how fast the virus
    will spread around the world, how it will
    impact our families & dear friends, down that useless worry hole. Your blog & always your picture made me realize all we do know & WHO is walking with us as the poem says. At the moment we are blessed to live in FL where the sun shines & Steve is playing golf today!
    Thanks for sharing. We love you❣️

  • Gail Crockett

    March 23, 2020 at 7:23 am Reply

    Farrell, thank you ?. Hugs ?

  • Christi Turner

    March 23, 2020 at 8:10 am Reply

    Thank you ❤️
    I need hourly reminders and touchstones. This is a gift.

  • Elizabeth Reames

    March 23, 2020 at 8:40 am Reply

    Thank you! We have added a prayer from “The Pocket Cathedral” to our family dinner time devotion. ❤️

  • Anne Mitchell

    March 23, 2020 at 8:52 am Reply

    Perfect Farrell and much needed. Thank you!

  • Debra Taylor

    March 23, 2020 at 9:17 am Reply

    This is exactly what I needed to prepare myself for the week ahead. Thank you for being a blessing to me and so many others. ❤️

  • Susie Brannon

    March 23, 2020 at 9:35 am Reply

    God’s in the midst of our battles. Hang on to Him??

  • Katie Hogan

    March 23, 2020 at 9:49 am Reply

    This is great, thank you for sharing! <3

  • Pam Richardson

    March 23, 2020 at 10:17 am Reply

    Incredibly insightful words, Farrell. The emotions of frustration and fear you described are so similar to the ones I experienced during Al’s illness and during my second bout of breast cancer. My faith tells me that God has a plan for me, as He does for everyone. And I know, without a doubt, that God will never forsake me. I strive daily to “let go and let God…”

  • Mary Spalding

    March 23, 2020 at 11:55 am Reply

    Please keep your post coming. I have read this one several times to calm me. Much love to all

  • Pam Zimmerman

    March 23, 2020 at 12:42 pm Reply

    Thank you, Farrell . . . your words of comfort are always appreciated . . . now more than ever.

  • Marilyn

    March 23, 2020 at 1:01 pm Reply

    Beautifully written Farrell. Be safe, be well!!! XOXO

  • Dorothy

    March 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm Reply

    Beautiful Farrell! Wonderful reminders for me! xo

  • Diane Tucker

    March 23, 2020 at 2:31 pm Reply

    Reading all the lovely comments regarding your beautiful post! Ditto! Another home run for the talented fair maiden, Farrell!

    love and hugs!

  • Barb Turner

    March 23, 2020 at 3:31 pm Reply

    Love This!
    Thank you Ferrell-
    Let’s take care of one another.

  • Christine Reed

    March 23, 2020 at 9:35 pm Reply

    Love the simplicity of the prayer. We are in the season of Lent. We often to choose to give up something as a spiritual practice during this season. Well-we are giving up more than most of us usually do. A good opportunity to reflect on Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, of which we can never equate truly. And to wait patiently for the Risen Christ.

    Oddly, Americans are collective in our social isolation. The Frist is offering free on line viewing of exhibits as well as ideas for art projects for kids. Lots of unique ways to connect emotionally while social distancing. Thank goodness for technology. During years that I have been home due to injury, I’ve gotten creative in finding ways to serve. Sending cards and notes, consoling my long distance friends and family members over the phone have been my main ways to serve. There’s a wonderful charity called, that lists requests for people needing a letter or card of encouragement. It’s been my go to. Also, I am thinking I will prepare thinking of you and get well cards to send in bulk to hospitals. I plan to address them “dear community member” and I plan to only sign my first name. Healthcare workers would love to receive thank you notes I’m guessing. I plan to tape the envelopes rather than lick them, and wash my hands before writing sessions.

  • Jane McCracken

    March 24, 2020 at 9:32 am Reply

    As always your words, your encouragement and your suggestions comfort all of us!
    Thank you Farrell for your many gifts. I treasure them all.

  • Cindy lee

    April 2, 2020 at 8:12 am Reply

    Thank you so much for the words of encouragement I needed that Yesterday, today a friend sent this to me. ❤️

  • Eugene Regen

    April 6, 2020 at 8:00 am Reply

    Ah, my dear Farrell, as is so very evident from both the sheer numbers and particularly the emotional intensity of the observations, this beautiful reflection is, hands down, perhaps the most moving and meaningful Bread & Honey in memory. “in the belly of the whale”, indeed!

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