For the first time in three years, my family is living under the same roof. My older son came home for spring break, never imagining that he wouldn’t be returning to campus for the remainder of his semester. My younger son’s high school senior year has been greatly altered, as he and his classmates now engage in distance learning. With a shelter-at-home mandate because of COVID-19, we are here for the foreseeable future.
It’s a good place to be. We have the comforts of home; a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry; and technology that keeps us connected with the outside world. We live within walking distance of my elderly parents, so we can easily check on them, we have each other, and we are well. We’ve continued to work from home and complete our school assignments. We’ve had time to clean closets, cook meals, play games, and tend to the yard. And yet…
I wake in the middle of the night, heart clenched in fear. I watch the news and feel anger and anxiety burning within me. I think of my parents, or my sons, or others that I love and this virus infecting humanity like a venom, and I panic. As I adapt to the disruption of the school year, I feel overwhelmed. When I imagine potential losses to come, like Reed’s graduation, I feel despair. I feel…a lot.
How are you experiencing these days of pandemic? Of distancing? Of quarantine? Wherever today finds you, how are you?
Last week the clouds over our city cleared and the rain finally ended. It was a welcome respite after isolating inside for several days. In the warm spring afternoon, I gathered the final bouquet of daffodils from my yard and took a walk to my parents’ home, just a few blocks away. The blue sky and bright sun were welcome companions, and as I walked, I noticed the bird song that filled the air like a symphony of praise. I could feel my heart lift.
As I walked, I observed my neighbors outside—some were mowing, some were porch sitting, a child was riding his bicycle, and a couple of teenagers were drawing on a driveway with sidewalk chalk. I spotted spring trees blooming—saucer magnolias, flowering crabapples, redbuds, dogwoods, and flowering cherry—and sensed hope stirring. I breathed in deeply and felt the scented air of spring minister to me.
What is ministering to you in these days of pandemic? Of distancing? Of quarantine? Wherever today finds you, how are you being cared for?
Each night my family gathers in our den and listens as a favorite author reads from one of his books on Facebook Live. As I turn the pages, following along, I’m taken back to a time when I read books aloud to the boys. Now, their long, lanky forms stretch across the couch or curl up on the floor with our dog. For half an hour, we are captivated by this storyteller, and we forget what’s happening in our world as we are transported to another.
On Sunday afternoons I join a group of women in a Zoom gathering hosted by my friend and Red Tent Living founder Tracy Johnson. We connect in this online community to offer and to honor stories—our stories of this uncertain, disruptive, and alarming time. It is a sacred time as we see each other’s faces and share our experiences.
We realize that we are not alone, which provides great comfort.
I see others offering engagement and care in a myriad of creative ways. Danielle invited people to write and share haikus about their pandemic experiences. Jill put crossword puzzle books and handwritten notes in the mailboxes of her neighbors. Donna and Michelle organized a food drive for a struggling community. Kaye and Jamie made masks, which they donated to healthcare workers at a local hospital. As I witness these women rising up and reaching out, I am encouraged and inspired.
Who is inspiring you in these days of pandemic? Of distancing? Of quarantine? Wherever today finds you, who is offering you hope?
Recently John Eldredge posted a short video reframing this time from a period of waiting to a time to consecrate as holy. He said, “I want to consecrate my quarantine period to Jesus. I don’t want to let the world rule it or the news rule it. Let’s make this time holy to God, make it sacred to Jesus…Each morning ask, “Jesus, what do you have for me today?” These words are altering how I’m viewing this time; they are shifting me from anxiety to anticipation, from fear to hope, from futility to purposeful engagement.
This morning I uploaded lesson plans for my students, along with a note of encouragement. I set up a Zoom call with friends for Wednesday morning. Each week six of us are connecting in this virtual space for our morning coffee and conversation. I pulled a couple of greeting cards out of my Trader Joe’s stash, and I’ll write a note of encouragement to friends who are living alone during this time of distancing. I emailed a poem to my pastor. Soon I’ll make breakfast for my boys, and later I’ll check on my parents.
These are the things I can do today, and they matter.
How are you inspiring others in these days of pandemic? Of distancing? Of quarantine? Wherever today finds you, how are you offering hope?
How are you in these days of pandemic? Of distancing? Of quarantine? I really want to know.
A lover of story, Susan Tucker has always been captivated by beautiful writing. She is drawn to themes of tension, joy/grief, hope/loss, freedom/shame, which she explores in her own writing. Susan spends her days teaching middle school English, mothering her two teenage sons, and loving her husband of 25 years. She cherishes her first cup of coffee each morning, moments of quiet and solitude, restorative yoga, worship music, and faithful friends.nbsp