I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Am I Wasting Quarantine?

This weekend I read an article on the Dayspring website ("Don't Waste Your Quarantine" by Ryan Perkins). It's excellent--read it here--and it's a strong reminder to be more of a Mary than a Martha in this time of isolation, to spend time with the Lord and draw closer to Him.
Bible Open To Psalm 118
Public Domain
I had a lot of ideas about how I would spend this time of isolation with my family. In fact, I wrote a blog post about my intentions. I would pray, write letters, clean out my office, indulge in self care, get creative with meals, do crafts, and so forth. And yes, spend more time with the Lord.

In other words, I'd decided not to waste my quarantine.

It's now been a full month since my kids came home, and almost that long since my state went into "Stay at home" mode. I have prayed, I have written a few letters, I have cooked weird meals using what I have in the cupboard, and I have written a book proposal which was turned in on time. A few times, I've sat in the sun to read and absorb Vitamin D. I've cleaned some things, but--

My home office and closet are still cluttered messes.

I haven't done all that much self-care. Or a single craft project (unless you count trying to make no-sew masks).

And most of all, I have not spent the amount of time with the Lord I've wanted to. Needed to.

The reason for this is as simple as it is complicated: life is messy. Quarantine has created a host of new activities, sources of stress, and distractions that have altered the way we function around here.

Maybe you can relate to one or more of these changes/challenges:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Adjustment/clutter due to four people working at home
  • Kids experiencing stress, grief, and struggle. Graduation and the celebrations surrounding it? Not happening. Job interviews, plans with friends, rites of passage, expectations, relationships? Truncated abruptly. Each of my kids handles these things differently. How do we help our kids right now? This is not a simple, one-paragraph answer. It takes a lot of prayer, time, hope, and support.
  • Increased planning, creativity, and energy when it comes to food shopping for our family as well as for extended family
  • Rationing certain foods
  • Loneliness
  • A cycle of discouragement, since I feel like there's a very big shoe about to drop. I'm not sure what that shoe looks like: is it my family getting sick? Is it someone I know dying? And then I sometimes go through guilt/self-condemnation for my fears: I should be trusting God more.

Can you relate to any of these? How are you coping?

I am not a model for coping like a champ, obviously, but one thing I tell my kids is this life we are living is not normal.

Some people react to grief--which is what we're all feeling, to some degree--by being active, busy, and in constant motion. Others require more rest and are exhausted by the need to heal.

We do not need to have all the answers right now. God is with us, before us, beside us, and around us. 

Another thing we're trying to do? Look for blessings. It's not easy to find these on the news feeds of our phones, but the world is still blossoming and God is still at work in many, many ways.

In closing, here are a few blessings in my life:
  • Our neighbor's newborn baby. We visited with him--keeping proper social distance--on the porch yesterday! Little hiccups, little toes, little fingers, big wide eyes. 
  • Zoom. It's not the same as being together in person but it's better than nothing! I'm proud of my parents for learning how to do it and getting together with a group of friends once a week!
  • Everyone sewing masks for strangers! Every act of kindness and love I hear of! Every word of encouragement I hear on the radio, TV, or in a song!
  • Time with my kids.
  • Birdsong, flowers blooming, blue sky. God's creation is beautiful.
  • The resources we have to engage with the Lord. Books! Internet! Other's words of encouragement!
Thanks for bearing with me, if you read this far. I'm praying for you in this odd, scary time.