Lessons from COVID-19: Things I Don’t Want to Change

Lessons from COVID-19_

Captain’s log: Day 9,214 of Quarantine

Has it been that long or does it only feel that long?

I no longer fit in pants other than leggings (yes, leggings are pants). I blame it on an amazing 1-minute microwave mug brownie recipe I found a few weeks ago.  Days not only bleed together, but snacks and meals volley back and forth all day long. Also, is it ok that breakfast has dessert following it?

I’m finding new and creative ways to organize drawers and cabinets including using an old Clementine crate I painted to match my shower curtain. I’ve scrubbed cabinet handles with Brillo pads, which I’m certain haven’t been cleaned since I moved in 9 years ago. Also, spent an afternoon soaking my shower drain grate and then cleaning each square individually with a pipe cleaner.

This is what my life looks like, but I’m not mad at it.

Actually, quite the opposite.

I know this season has been difficult on many as they try to manage finances, homeschool children, social distance and simply survive this global pandemic. This post is in no way belittling the hardship people are facing.

Yet, I find myself incredibly thankful for some lessons I am learning during this time. Maybe you have felt these, too.

R E S T

I was listening to a sermon recently where a question was asked that pricked me a bit. You know what I’m talking about– the one where you’re like, “Alriiiiiiiiiiiight, Lord. I’m listening.” The preacher asked:

Are you praying to get out of something a few months ago you were asking God to give you?

Gulp.

I have been begging God for a break for a long time now. Not months….we are talking years. I’ve been so burnt-out on busyness that it was grinding away at any joy I had in life (or ministry or serving). I couldn’t enjoy simple pleasures because I was so busy trying to fit in all the friggin things I HAD to do.

And now, I don’t have to do anything. Well, I’m still working from home everyday, but other than that my schedule is free and that is freeing.

W R I T I N G

My cabinet handles aren’t the only thing getting some much needed attention. My blog, which had gone radio silent for well over a year, is now back into my regular routine. Where ideas had dried up previously there are now creative and inspiring springs coming forth.

In a similar creative vein, I’ve started testing out 1-Minute Monday video messages on some of my social media platforms, which I’m quite certain I would have never attempted if it wasn’t for all this. I’m actually  enjoying changing up the media and trying something new even if my stuff isn’t highly edited or the lighting isn’t always quite right.

C O M M U N I T Y ~ R E I M A G I N E D

One of the greatest gifts I’ve been given in this season is that I get to connect to those I want to. The social demands of my life are much more restricted, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to experience community. It just doesn’t look like it did before.

It’s not just that I’m spending more time on the phone and writing letters, but it’s the quality of conversation I’ve been having. Where conversations were once overrun with recapping schedules and how tired I was I’m now able to talk about an interesting article I read or how I’m exploring ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

I’ve also been inspired by the simple creativity of others who have found new ways to connect while maintaining the 6-feet perimeter. For me personally I’ve had handpicked Spring flowers left on my doorstep. I’ve seen how others have used some of their time to sew masks for those who need them. This generosity creates connection even if words are never exchanged. I can’t fully explain it, but I know how it feels. I’m sure you do, too.

Have I felt lonely at times? Absolutely!

I’d be lying if there weren’t moments this whole situation has felt mind-numbingly isolating. On the good days, I redirect and FaceTime my sister to talk about laughter yoga and say “Hi” to my doggie nephew. On the bad days, I eat a “sharing size” bag of peanut M&M’s.

B O U N D A R I E S

If ever I needed an intervention (besides for my chocolate addiction, of course) this would be the area I’d need it. “No” was a word that had somehow never been programmed into my vocabulary. Add an unrelenting desire to make people happy and voila you’ve got the making for some toxic relationships!

This season has created some much needed space for me. Space for me to realize what I need to do moving forward to create a healthier environment for myself.

It’s hasn’t been easy and the first few weeks I was scrambling to find some activities I could safely lend myself to like serving at the Meals on Wheels program. An amazing and worthwhile place to give your time, but for me this was me filling an unhealthy hole that very much did not need to be filled.

There will come a time where this “pause” will be lifted and life will get back to normal. I will no longer be able to use social distancing as an excuse NOT to do something. A time where I will have to actually stick up for myself and my needs and not feel guilty about it and I’m using this time to (hopefully) prepare for all of that.

I’m finishing this post on a rainy, chilly Sunday afternoon. My morning spent enjoying scrambled eggs, a pot of coffee and trash-picking videos on YouTube. I’ve got some candles burning and things feel….good. I could not say that for many years and for that I am thankful.

I hope there are moments like this for all of you, too. Moments you find yourself snuggled up on the couch with your kids or pets watching a funny movie or with your hands elbow deep in bread dough just having the time of your life. May there be lovely moments that bring you simple contentment.

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