WHAT IS HAPPENING ?!!! The world is shutting down! What do we do now? How long will this last? Who caused it? What about my plans?
Many people are finding that they suddenly have a whole lot of time and questions on their hands and they are not comfortable with that at all. I am not in that group. But the ones who have full calendars and plan their lives out for a year in advance or more are feeling like the bottom just dropped out and they are free-falling and frantically searching for something to grab onto.
I don’t wish this sudden chaos of quarantine from COVID19 on anyone, but there are lessons that can be learned that can improve your outlook and compassion for others. Because this is how it feels to those of us who are caregivers, those who have chronic diseases and pain, those who are homeless or almost homeless, those who live with injustice, abuse, fear, insecurity as a daily event. We do not plan a year in advance. We do not know what tomorrow may bring. We do not have the resources for financial or health or emotional security. Now the whole world is in the same boat. We do not know what is happening, how long it will last, who to trust, and how it will affect us personally now and in the long run. I understand how scary that is!
Those of us who live with this type of uncertainty daily have developed coping methods. Thankfully I am in the group that believes in God and seeks His comfort and trusts that He is helping me through every day. I pray and read my Bible and spend time with other believers. God gives me peace IN THE STORM. But even non-believers who live in chaos get kinda used to it and deal with it in various ways. For some that might mean hoarding, even the homeless do it. Others stay zoned out on drugs and booze. Many are on prescription drugs to help with the anxiety of the unknown. Some fall into in harmful coping mechanisms that only make their situation worse. Some have better ways, like acceptance, exercise and meditation and healthy hobbies. Many do not have a choice. There is no end in sight to their problems.
The most important thing is this : LEARN TO ACCEPT THAT YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING TO FIX THE CHAOTIC ISSUE, BUT THAT YOU ARE NOT TOTALLY HELPLESS.
So you just got told to stay home and you no longer have plans for the weekend and your kids are out of school and you are freaking out? You just learned a new word, social distancing and you don’t think you like it ? Maybe you work in a restaurant or at a bar or a theater or some other entertainment venue that has been declared off limits. Take a breath, ask yourself, what needs to be done at the moment? What is my financial situation? Will I need to apply for FEMA aid? Is the local community offering help? Do I have groceries for the week? Do I need to refill my prescriptions, get dog food, pay bills, mow the lawn, plant the garden? What immediate things need doing? Check on your older family members. Take the focus off the things that were taken off your calendar without your consent or desire. Grieve for a moment that you can’t go to your race or concert or performance or trip. Then try to look for other things to do. And be thankful that you are healthy for now ! You could be sick next week or taking care of a sick person.
Here are a few ideas: catch up on sleep, exercise with videos, run on a treadmill, buy a treadmill, run around your neighborhood or park, if that is still allowed. Watch everything on TV. Read all those books you said you wanted to read. Write a journal of this experience. Look for ways to help. Do some stretching and take a long bath. Sew, cross-stitch, do crafts, paint. Read biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction. Clean, de-clutter and organize your house, something we never have enough time for. Paint the house, that is what I need to do. Mend broken relationships. Read the Bible. Start with the Gospel of John if you are a beginner.
The point is that being at home is not necessarily a terrible thing, even though social distancing is a stupid word that I can do without. For many people home is the only option most of the time because there is just no money to go and do or they are too unhealthy or in pain or they are stuck there taking care of a disabled or ill person or they are not mentally able to handle the stress of going places. For those with children, this is a great opportunity to have more family time. I really hope parents don’t let their kids think they are not glad to have them at home, what a sad message! Take advantage of this unusual situation. It’s pretty much an extended Spring Break or an early Summer , but without the vacations and activities that many people are used to. Doing school work at home will not take as much time as going to school takes. But that is another blog topic.
So relax, don’t panic, things will get back to normal. And maybe when this social distance and quarantine is all over, hopefully you’ll have a little more insight into the lives of people that don’t get to go and do things, because a little more compassion is never a bad thing.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,26 for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason— when they have done you no harm.31 Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.32 For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence.33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.34 He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.35 The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame. Proverbs 3 NIV