Want to know some real truth?
Most days I’m all over the place emotionally. I like to think I was a pretty grounded person but this whole stay at home for an undisclosed amount of time and now wear a mask and don’t even bring the groceries in without wiping them down reality is testing the emotions.
I wake with good intentions. Most days. Then the second I look at the news I have to force myself to stop reading. Too many deaths, too much fear.
So I make coffee. But then, get this, I start to count the number of Keurig coffee pods left and start to strategize their use. Nevermind that I ran out of creamer and my groceries aren’t able to be picked up for four days.
Then I feel guilt. Because, after all, being in a quarantine in my home, with a bunch of food and healthy kids is a blessing and I shouldn’t feel anxious.
Then because I feel anxious and guilty I sit down and you guessed it, there is the news again reminding me that this world has hit the fan and is now a world none of us know.
So I take that coffee and go outside and sit on my front porch. This is my new spot, next to the door. My new neighbors might wonder about me, but if they discover who I am (which always happens) they will read this update and realize that she just needed a moment to breathe.
I have to breathe like that often throughout the day.
School emails stress me out. I am grateful for my years as a relaxed homeschooler because that is what it is like in my house. Relaxed. I try to tell myself that they can learn playing video games, but honestly, Fortnite might not qualify. But they do learn. We’ve done so much gardening and cooking and strategizing. It doesn’t look like school, but it counts.
And I have this list of all the food in the pantry now. Ha. I know that I have five paper towel rolls left and a bunch of toilet paper and know that I can add it to that open list at Kroger that I will finally get to pick up on Monday.
It’s kind of lonely too. I really want to go for a walk, but then I don’t because the whole social distancing thing is hard and awkward. I miss my friends.
And I miss the school lines too. I miss the crossing guard and her waving at all of us. I miss telling my kids, “Have a great day at school!” And, gasp, get this, I miss packing lunches and homework.
This whole quarantine thing has taught me a bunch about myself. It’s taught me to wear all the clothes in my closet and to let go of things I thought were important. It’s taught me about grace too. So so so much grace.
Grace for myself and for others.
It’s taught me that we ate out for lunch more than I thought. Or that I wandered the aisles of Target just because. And that working at home with kids at home who get constant Zoom requests is a challenge.
But that’s actually taught me that I’m strong.
It’s taught me to slow down. I’ve watched the leaves turn and I realized that for most of my life I rush through tasks because there is always something to do and somewhere to go. Now, I catch myself and I slow myself down and I REALLY allow myself to appreciate the moments and the simplicity of simple things.
It’s really taught me to be more connected. I’ve written postcards and Factimed and sent letters WAY more than I ever have before. That’s taught me to be a better friend.
A better friend.
Isn’t that a powerful thing?
If this time isolated really teaches us to love our neighbors and to stop putting off until tomorrow doing the things we should be doing today then there is beauty in the hardship. How many times did I say, “can we reschedule for next week?” and then, guess what friends, next week has never come.
I want it to come now. I want to be the friend at the door, the one who says, “yes” to coffee. I want to be more present and less stressed about small things that didn’t really matter.
Isolation has taught me that I’m more creative than I thought and that I’m less patient than I would like to be.
And it’s shown me that I’m human.
Listen, friends, I know this is hard. But we will get through. We are strong and we are united. And if we come through as better people, then that’s an amazing gift.
Remember how I started this talking about my emotions being all over? Well, I’ve learned that is normal. It’s part of growth and change and in the uncomfortable we learn how to be strong and morph. Those emotions are the gifts we have and those emotions teach us to love deeply.
The emotions are what make us real.
They are what makes us put hearts on our windows and write chalk messages and put teddy bears for kids to find. They are what makes us stand and cheer for first responders and essential workers. Those all over emotions matter.
So have grace for those emotions.
Cling to hope.
Seriously, cling to it. Hope matters.
Find joy too.
And tell your friends you love them.
From me, your friend.
ps. And find a place in your home to recharge. As an introvert who everyone thinks is an extrovert this time with everyone around has been so challenging. So sometimes I just say, “I need a break,” and walk outside.