written Dec 22, 2021
Dear Jesse, I bring you greetings from the future.
I see you sitting there near the end of 2020, scrolling your phone as you try to digest the crazy things 2020 brought into your life.
You read about how your beloved province of Alberta is in lockdown as government officials try to contain the latest outbreak of covid, or maybe as they try to restructure society. It’s not clear in the moment which is really behind the lockdowns.
You have so many questions and are trying to sort out what the future will hold.
Well, here I am, writing to you from one year later.
I’m sorry to report that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and we are still facing government restrictions on gathering. I’m also a little embarrassed to tell you that you were dead wrong in your prediction that vaccine passports weren’t going to become a reality. Believe it or not, we now need to show proof of vaccination (or a negative covid test) to eat indoors or go concerts or movie theaters or to cross the border.
Yes, as we end 2021, covid is still our hot topic.
Some updates though: we now differentiate new variants by the letters of the Greek alphabet. We’re currently dealing with Omicron. So the good news is that we are over half way to the end!
I also need to warn you that covid is going to affect you in some deeply personal and terrifying ways this year.
By July, it will look like the covid pandemic is over. Alberta will let the pastors out of jail and will lift almost every single restriction and celebrate just in time for the Calgary Stampede.
There will be 2 months of glorious freedom. There will be trips to the city for mini golf, and restaurants, and movies, all without masks. You will even enjoy a trip to the Calgary Zoo.
Then you will hear about a new variant called Delta. It’s apparently doing terrible things in India, but nobody will seem too concerned.
You will be far more concerned about your Gpa Frantz in California, who will take a terrible turn for the worse in his battle with cancer. Your Uncle Tim will go down to California and drive Gpa Don back up to Alberta. Don will end up in the hospital for good shortly after.
I hate to break the news to you, but after seeming to be ageless and invincible, your precious Gpa will finally finish his race and enter Heaven near the end of September. Cherish your visit with him in May, as I know you will.
In September you will hear reports that Delta is causing a huge spike of cases here in Alberta and that the ICU’s are filling up, but it will still feel distant and remote.
But when you guys get together to bury your Grandfather one of your family members will unknowingly bring covid to the gathering. They will get terrible symptoms the next day.
Within a few weeks it will infect your entire immediate family who did not have previous infection. Those who had covid before avoid getting sick. Yes, natural immunity seems to be strong and effective.
Your covid experience will be dark and miserable with moments of terror and wondering if those most precious to you will make it through. Your parents especially will face a more severe case than they could have ever imagined.
I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself, but don’t be afraid because God will walk through it with you all in amazing ways and everyone will make it to the end of the year!
You will especially need this assurance when it comes to Heidi. As you are probably dying to know, yes, Heidi is pregnant now! Congratulations, job well done! 😉
Actually news of new life will come as quite a shock to you, and the morning sickness for Heidi will be especially brutal and seemingly never ending.
Covid will be miserable and last for weeks but you will get through it! (And that precious baby will make it till now, and you’ll never believe what the gender appears to be!)
I’m really sorry I’ve made so much of this letter about covid. I can assure you that in real life conversations, you will become sick of the topic.
I’m hoping some future version of us will write back to us someday with some clarity and answers about what is really going on. Some trustworthy answers would be nice.
Let’s see… what else can I tell you. You get invited to speak at a summer camp in Washington, but have to cancel because the US Border will not be open to you.
Also believe it or not, In October, your brother Joseph really does end up marrying the Russian woman he met online while playing chess.
Sadly, I have to inform you that you will not be able to make it to their wedding. You will be in the midst of covid misery then, though, and be grateful you can suffer at home.
I am so grateful to report that all your kids are still alive and you are still happily married. Somehow that amazing wife keeps putting up with us!
I know she enjoyed you, but I think she will enjoy me even more! (just a little sneak peek to increase your anticipation: This December you will get a totally and amazing and refreshing two day getaway with her to finally celebrate your 15th anniversary which of course happened in March.)
Now, about our kids:
Thomas is now 2, and still as busy as ever doing amusing things like hiding the tooth brushes down the sink drain, writing on the walls, making non-stop messes, getting into dangerous liquids, and hiding precious things in completely unanticipated places. At one point you will get so frustrated because you can’t find your favourite shoe and have looked all over the house multiple times. Look in the bottom of the dirty diaper pail. Yep. Typical 2 yr old stuff. But you still love him like.
Eric is 4 and very sweet and affectionate and very in touch with his emotions, and frequently unable to get “un-in-touch” with his big emotions. He loves to cuddle and read books and is getting into Lego.
Justin is 7 and sometimes feels lost in the middle. Do all you can to notice and affirm him. He really is loaded with talent. He has the athletic abilities of his big brother Elijah and the artistic talent of his oldest brother JM. He loves being active, but also has the ability to slow down to paint, draw, or do puzzles.
Elijah is now 9 and is a true blue athlete and sports fan. You guys will love the upcoming baseball season but be prepared: it ends so close to greatness.
The best news I can tell you about Elijah is that he now wears the Libre 2 sensor. This has alarms that get sent to his phone when he is going high or low. I can’t tell you how much you will appreciate these alarms and how they will give you peace of mind to sleep at night. He is a champ and by the end of the year he has pretty much taken over giving himself his own shots of insulin, and has even done some of his own calculations for dosing. (gulp)
Sophia is 12 and has such a deep strength. She has grown so capable and will be a total hero often in the year to come.
She has even sacrificed to let Tommy sleep in her room with her, and has given up so much sleep walking with him during the night so you and Heidi can catch up on sleep. She is a fantastic cook and a huge help with the cleaning. She is turning into a woman faster than you want her to! During your bout with covid, she and JM will really rise to the occasion and be a complete life saver while you and Heidi fight delirium and fever. The best surprise for Sophia will be when she hears about the ultrasound results of the new baby!
JM is almost 15 and will end up close to 6 feet by year’s end. He will discover a new passion for intarsia woodworking, and you won’t believe the level of quality or creativity his work exhibits.
More importantly he still has a tender heart, sensitive conscience, and a deep hunger for God. He is so thoughtful and a kind big brother. He is a born educator and really steps up this fall to help with the home education, and his siblings love it.
Your dear wife is still as gorgeous as ever, if not more so. I don’t know how we ended up so blessed to get to live with her. This will be a challenging year, but she is so resilient and will still find ways to reach out to those around her.
You, dear friend, who I know better than anyone else in the world, make it to 39. You still can’t lose weight, you still drive school bus, and still occasionally have heart burn. From the outside there is nothing remarkable about you. But you and I both know what an incredible life you get to live with your beautiful family and loving community.
Well, there are lots of things you probably want to know about the future, as do I!
But I know you agree with me that we need to keep our attention on the gifts of the present and slow down and savour this fleeting life.
You make a lot of decisions this year, but one of the best will be to buy two kayaks. They will make your summer amazing and create wonderful memories and meaningful times of conversation.
Overall, I will tell you to just relax and enjoy the upcoming year. There will be some terrific moments for you to relish. In truth I’m kind of jealous that you get to experience them again, though you also have my pity you have to endure some of them.
Now, I get to go enjoy my own wonderful life! I look forward to someday hopefully hearing from future me!