In the fourth week of sheltering in place, I crashed. I folded to the forces of apathy, disorientation, and despair. Oh, I started this forced sabbatical with plenty of grit and gratitude: I came screeching in from traveling through Israel with a group of godly women on pilgrimage. Our trip abruptly ended due to Corona fears and I wanted to kiss the ground when I finally made it home. I felt the same gratitude when my middle daughter emerged from a wilderness trek in the mountains of Patagonia and raced for home.
Like many families, we are juggling multiple schedules as all of us are working from home. We each carved out a work space: my husband took the office, piling up yearbooks to build a computer stand for his laptop. My oldest daughter established her space on the kitchen counter, my youngest daughter sits with her laptop on the back porch as she finishes out her senior year at USC, virtually. Likewise, my son is finishing his senior year of high school online, alone at the kitchen table. My traveling daughter is pacing the floor. We have night owls binge watching Netflix, while I am the early bird, up to meet with God. None of us are sleeping well.
The transition we are navigating is difficult, albeit healthy in ways. From eating out at least four times a week, we are now cooking every meal together. We’ve reluctantly returned to chore lists like when the kids were young. We worship together several times a week to stay encouraged. New skillsets are emerging. We’ve learned all about Zoom. We finally opened up a slackline kit we got for Christmas. We tried to do a puzzle and remembered we all hate puzzles. My son wrapped chicken pineapple sausage in bacon, cooking it to a perfectly glazed crisp. “Maybe I should be a chef” he exclaimed after relishing the last bite. All of these adjustments take place in the privileged position of relative stability—relationally, financially, physically, and spiritually.
What I’ve learned about myself in this “new normal”: even though I teach moms You are the thermostat of your house. You set the temperature for your family life! The truth is, I’m a thermometer. I’m not setting the temperature, I’m measuring it. Constantly! All the grief and anger my two seniors feel about missing the last hooray of school continually register on my radar. I’m feeling the sadness of my oldest daughter that her June wedding will most likely be postponed. I feel the anguish of my traveler as she’s like an eagle locked in a tiny cage. I’m feeling the stress of my husband working ten-hour days in a makeshift office. I’m feeling everyone’s frustration about our crappy internet and missing their friends.
I’m deeply grateful that we are all healthy, safe, employed, and together. Yes, of course, we are going to make it through this difficult time. But damn, the ache of all this Rona Recoil hangs heavy on my heart. In many ways, I’m not the strong leader that I thought I was. Today I’m trying to shake off the temperature I’m sensing and set it by something greater, something stronger and eternal: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) I’m running, maybe crawling, into His strong tower. I hope that you are running into His Presence, Safety, Provision, and Rest this week! Bless you my friends!