* I am pleased to announce that Freddy, the puppy I raised for Canine Companions for Independence, passed his initial service dog tests with flying colors. His report card did mention that he sometimes whines when life isn’t going his way. That hasn’t changed from his first night with me. I do miss that boy. He’s a very special dog.
* I’ve had several people mention to me that they now understand what home confinement is like. Thankfully they really don’t. But if martial law is instituted requiring everyone to stay home without specific permission to leave, they’ll be close.
* The first inmate in federal custody has died of the coronavirus at the prison camp in Oakdale, Louisiana. I can’t think of a worse place to be in a pandemic than at a federal prison camp. All prisons are overcrowded, but none more than camps which have the lowest security level. Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp housed twice as many inmates as it was designed to hold. It was ill-equipped and staffed to handle even routine medical issues. Obviously the Bureau of Prisons can’t admit that, but hopefully we’ll see them forced to release more non-violent inmates to home confinement soon because of the virus.
* The COVID-19 pandemic will be a defining moment for the Trump administration and for this generation of Americans. Nobody knows how many will die, and the implications of abruptly shutting down the most powerful economic engine in history for a few months are mind boggling. Can it simply be restarted? If not, what? I’m not sure anyone knows. Ironically our currency says “In God We Trust,” but sadly most of us rely on our government, our families, our jobs, our neighbors and ourselves for our wellbeing and self-worth. While all these can sometimes serve as the hands and feet of God, this may be one of those rare opportunities to acknowledge and truly experience the fact that we are mere participants, willing or unwilling, in the mystery of our existence on this planet. As Richard Rohr so aptly writes, “My life is not about me. It is about God.” Maybe we need to be reminded of this fundamental fact so we don’t run from the challenges and uncertainty that now face us. Instead we can accept where we are and realize that God is right here with us. He’s right where He’s always been, the alpha and omega. It’s good to remember that. It's also good to remember to wash your hands, often.