The day isolation began is muddled in my head. We had heard of the virus not long after Christmas, however, it seemed so far away when spring break started.
We did our usual things with some of the grandkids. The ones in Colorado didn’t have a break until the week after we did. But as the week came to a close, it was apparent that school would not resume the next week nor in the weeks following after.
So, the isolation began in earnest.
Us in our house, everyone we loved in their house. The only contact via that lovely little phone or the computer. Texting went to a new level. Emails were sporadic. And calls were few and far between. Our children were suddenly faced with questions: is my job going to take a break? Will I work from home? How does that look? How can I do school and work from home? And the ultimate question: Will my work end here? If so, what happens next?
Then the subsequent questions started coming fast and furious. How will my bills get paid? How do I do this home school thing? What will keep the stress level down when the noise level goes up? How do we do church? How long is this going to last?
The new wore off.
Still the questions: Why do all these people need toilet paper that they didn’t need yesterday? The shelves are bare, yet they keep telling us there’s plenty of food. Where is it? We need to stay home, but the order we put in for food won’t be ready until next week. What about the things we’ve run out of? Is it safe to run into the store? Do I have to disinfect everything every day?
Now the new rhythm is settling down on us like an old blanket. Worn thin in spots, but still keeps us warm.
We’ve gone to social media to be social, but the overwhelming news is worse each day. So, we back off the media. We read books, we read articles about home and garden, art, look at clothes on the web, look at furniture we aren’t going to buy. Suddenly those things have lost their appeal for the moment at least. And I look at a house that needs cleaning.
Fear is creeping in through the cracks- through the back door, the open window, the screen. It comes home with us in the car. We keep nudging it out of the way but it sits, there, in a corner. Rolled up in a ball waiting for us to embrace it.
It’s harder some days than others. We find we are distancing ourselves from each other more in the house. Upstairs, down, in the garage, out by the garden. In the bed in the afternoons trying to sleep at least part of the day away. The endless days, one after another, where the only important things become weather and food.
We try to get out and walk. We’ve done it some. But the weather, again, is a hinderance when it rains off and on for days. We look forward to the weekends. We meet up with our life group from church, we watch the service together. During the week, I try to maintain a schedule with bible study and preparing the lessons for the kids in my class- to put up a video lesson- a new experience for sure. For the present, we have some order in our days. But summer is coming…
The numbers change daily, between who has the virus and who died from the virus. Good news every day. NOT.
The cry for masks has reached panic peak. Make your own, make more, use a paper towel, use a bandana. We must have masks. More masks.
My brain is fried, thinking how much our world has changed by something we can’t see. Yet, my inner world changed long ago by Someone I cannot see but who Resides within me. My deep inner core is not shaken by all of this. But some friends are sinking into depression. How do we care for each other, resist depression, anxiety and, ultimately, a deep fear that makes us wonder if we have breathed our last?
As for me, I am grounded in thanksgiving by the gifts of each day. The flash of sunlight between the clouds, the soaking rain for the budding plants, that bright flash of orange at the end of the day; which, up to an hour ago, was dark with black clouds and now has the most glorious of sunsets. All this and more.
Nature and books call to me most often. However, I’m so used to staying inside because it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too something, that it is hard to get back into the groove of being outside. We can’t isolate totally inside four walls. Even if all we have is a back stoop to sit on and drink our morning coffee or that cup of tea at the end of the day fresh air and sunshine are important to our health.
I wonder how others try to manage the isolation, the aloneness, the sadness that sets in because of the loss of physical contact- not just hugs and kisses, but just being in the same room with others. Breathing the same space. Looking at each other and knowing when to pause and listen and when to talk. All those nuances are missing now even when we are viewing each other through the screens.
At this point, we wait, we watch, we listen.
The numbers continue to rise all over the world. Did we isolate soon enough, did we wait too late? Why are you standing outside your house? Why did you go to the store only to stand in line – 6 feet away from another just to see if you can snag a package of toilet paper?
The one constant in all of this for me is this: I know this is temporary. I know that the presidents, nor the WHO nor the CDC, nor the prime ministers, nor the premiers of countries are in control. Man is out of control and for some men it’s the first time this has ever happened. However, I have not placed my trust in man but in the High King of Heaven. The Author and Creator of the Universe, the One who made me, called me and adopted me into His family is in control.
And I can trust Him above all things.
And I’m reminded of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s response to King Nebuchadnezzar long, long ago when he wanted them to bow down and worship a statue of himself to avoid being thrown into a blazing furnace:
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’ Daniel 3:16-18
I know that God can deliver me from any situation, but even if He does not, I trust Him. He sees the whole picture. I do not.
“I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.” Psalm 146:2-4