Last week I was on a Zoom call with some friends and I asked them two questions: The first was: “What has been the hardest/most challenging thing about quarantine for you?” After a few jokes about not being able to get their hair done, they all gave very similar answers. Most of these friends, being grandmothers like me, unanimously answered “Not being able to hug or hold my grandbabies and grandchildren!” Some of them experienced real battles with frequent sadness if they had babysat their grandchildren daily. They not only missed hugging and caring for grandchildren, but they also missed the sense of greater purpose in serving their families, freeing parents to go to work.
I also asked them: What have been some of the benefits and unforeseen blessings you have experienced during this time?” Almost right away, their faces began to glow, sharing the unexpected blessings that had come from having less freedom and variety in their daily routines and more time at home. One said she had more time for quiet and prayer, leisurely praying and reading the Bible without a deadline to be out the door. Another one said she and her husband had reconnected significantly through shopping and preparing meals together and rediscovering having a daily devotional together. Others enjoyed more time for hobbies that brought them true joy – time to knit, paint, or time to plant and work in a garden. Together we all experienced a celebration of what was good, beneficial, important, and joy-producing in our time of quarantine.
As we finished up our discussion about the upside and the downside of this time at home and in “social distancing” one of my friends said “Some of these things I’ve rediscovered or tried for the first time I want to take with me when life becomes more normal!”
Pondering the Positives and “Packing for the New Normal”
What about you? Perhaps, you are still experiencing upheaval in your life just coping day to day– working from home, homeschooling children (while trying to work also), seeing activities paused, vacations canceled, isolation from loved ones and so many more things that are important to you.
But each day we are closer to our freedom! Or at least “freedom” in the new normal! Have you had time to take stock of this unprecedented time of social distancing at home? When this began, we were totally shocked and felt we had no choice in the shutting down of life as we knew it. Now after growing restless and concerned about our jobs and family’s welfare, we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel! Entering the tunnel was forced upon us by the virus but coming out of it can be more in our control if we do some pondering and planning.
Pondering what has been hard and what has been unforeseen blessings could bring a new perspective.
By appreciating those new habits, rhythms, and renewed relationships, we can be intentional about taking what is valuable, meaningful, and joyful into the next season. If your family dinner hour has been a good way to spend time together, then make plans to be prepared to take this new rhythm into the new season by continuing to plan meals, shop, and enlist family help to make it happen. If you discovered or rediscovered a talent or hobby that brings you joy, make plans to incorporate it into the next season by carving out time in your weekly schedule for it and creating a space or corner for it. As we get closer to greater freedom, now is a great time for sorting out what has been truly valuable in this experience and packing it safely away for future use in our new normal.
Our priorities may have shifted because of what we have experienced.
As we do our pondering and planning for the next season of greater external freedom, we remember that our journey through this time has been guided by the One who promised in Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” and again, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Helen Steinkamp Salt+Clay Magazine