I think I figured out part of my problem. I have a lot of them, I realize, but something has been extra “off’ about me since the Covid-19 quarantine. At first I thought it was just that I didn’t have a good Quarantine Routine. I don’t like set schedules (because I am a free spirit and also don’t like anyone telling me what to do 😉) but I really need them to function properly. Give my “free spirit” a few days without a schedule and it’s complete mayhem. I can’t get anything done.
But I don’t think that’s it, entirely. We are all quarantined to our homes with our precious, dear, sweet family members. Please keep my love and admiration for them in mind as we enter this upcoming territory. I hear a lot of talk about the isolation of this disease, and I know many people are living alone, so that totally stinks. I am sad for you in a different way if you are experiencing that kind of loneliness. I don’t mean to make light of the other side of this coin. But, many of us are living with a few other Homo sapiens that are always.always.always home. There are other people in my living room where I used to sit and reflect and read and pray without distraction. And since I can’t seem to be still and quiet with someone in the room, I feel compelled to share my deep thoughts out loud with them and then they too are interrupted. I take on the stress of my husband’s job because I can hear him on the phone from anywhere in the house. I am hyper aware of my own work conversations because I know they can hear me too. I can only imagine the not alone-ness that those with small children who need constant attention must feel.
While looking up ambient music with beach background on U Tube ( it’s one way to pretend I am somewhere else than my house! ), the phrase #alonetogether kept scrolling across the screen. Well, that’s a nice thought and all, but at least for a little bit everyday, I need to be #alonealone #alonewithoutinterruption #alonewithgod #alonewithmythoughts. Even if you love having this blessed time to be home everyday all day with whoever those people are for you, we are not wired to never have solitude, a time to refresh, refocus and spend time hearing from God.
In the olden days, like 3 weeks ago, most of us had a tendency to rush from our workouts to work to soccer to church to bed. Our time alone with God and with our own spirits had to be carved out intentionally. That part hasn’t changed, it’s just that now we need to be more creative and open to new ways of doing that. I have been mostly irritated that I can’t do it the way I used to do it and thus have spent very little time spending the kind of time in reflection and prayer and reading necessary for me to be emotionally and mentally healthy, which is less than optimal during a pandemic where fear and uncertainty seem to be pressing in at all times. I need God’s perspective and peace now more than ever. I keep telling God we’ll “catch up soon” and then forget to text or call, like I would an old friend I ran in to at the grocery store.
I know we are not on vacation by any means, but we are on a hiatus from real life, which is kind of the same when it comes to the routine of solitude or study. When I go on vacation, after about a week of self indulgence and constant togetherness and group activities (eating every meal together, sleeping in the same room together, riding in the same car together ) I start getting a little ticky. I know I need to find a way to be alone and read, write, pray or just sit and stare in silence. If I don’t do this, thinks can get ugly. I need get out of my own head and hear from God or read spiritual insights so I can remind myself of how to act like a loving, mature momma and wife.
So, on this here forced Staycation, I am gonna have to figure out a new way of doing things. Luckily, it’s getting warm so outside is now an option. My car is starting to become my new best friend. It’s quiet and offers privacy without risking infection. I don’t love these alternatives, because I really love my little blue couch and coffee table for my feet and my picture window to look out during my usual morning time of solitude. But life is anything but typical right now and I still need that time-out from others to stay spiritually healthy.
Maybe you need it too. Maybe you have been reading this and there is a child wrapped around your leg or resting on your hip. Maybe your partner is sitting across from you so even though you want to cry out to God or just plain cry, you feel self-conscious or embarrassed to do so. Maybe the TV is on all day and your fears are growing by the hour. Maybe, like me, you are starting to blame the people in your home for your inner angst and restlessness when really your soul is starving and out of sorts.
My advice to you….RUN. Not forever. Not far. But for a small and imperative chunk of time. Run to God. Eventually things will go back to “normal”, but for the sake of your sanity and serenity that comes from spending time alone with God and with yourself, figure out how to carve out a time and space where you can be #alonealone. Your family might miss you for a bit, but my hunch is they will be grateful that you have rebooted and recalibrated your spirit, you can come back to them with a calmness and kindness that are just contagious as the Coronavirus.