We have been in our house for the past 23 days, trying our best to do our patriotic duty of protecting others by not spreading the virus that is running rampant through our nation and the world. Over the course of #socialdistancing I have realized many blessings and many things in which I should be grateful.
Even while being home safe and spending time with family, it is still an adjustment. One that I am sure we are all feeling. The initial panic has given away, I am at peace with trying to find solutions and trying to make changes to keep the “holes in the bucket” plugged as much as possible. When life gives you circumstances, the only thing we have control over is our reactions. We must wade through and process our emotions and then have enough to be able to remove those emotions from our thoughts and continue with facts.
The fact is we are home. We are working remotely. We are teaching our children how to face chaos by being calm and doing all that we can to not invite a threat into our home, i.e.. wash your hands, stay away from others, reduce unnecessary trips to public places, etc. We are also teaching them how to stay positive, how to find joy in homework, in reading, in sitting in the sun, in playing outside as a family, in movie nights, in cooking, in listening to each other, in studying the Bible, in exercising, in the relief from external stress that actually were fun but obligations like baseball practice, daycare, school bells, social events, etc.
Even with everything slowing down, and with being mindful of emotion versus logic. I will admit, I do still feel a disconnect from those that I felt I contributed to their development. There is a part of me that feels empty because of my focus and responsibilities being changed. I keep telling myself, I traded “work” responsibilities and allowed myself to focus on “home” responsibilities. Now, I am just allowing myself to be fully present and fully active in my children’s day, which is what I have always said was my priority.
This forced break has made me realize, is that I allowed myself to be pulled in so many different directions that I was showing up mentally and emotionally to personal events running on empty, and that more often than not I put work as a priority over my family because it was something I viewed as being graded on my ability to uphold my responsibilities. When your priorities and your actions aren’t aligned, that is when you feel out of balance. For the past few years, I felt out of balance, yet I was determined to “fake it until you make it.” My efforts didn’t create the results that I wanted.
I tried to push harder at work in hopes of being able to fulfill my duties in a shorter span of time so that way I could force boundaries and be protective of my time at home with my family. Ultimately, it led me to being even more emotionally and physically exhausted. Now, having this time home with the kids I realize just how much I was missing, and how much I was relying on teachers to raise them. And I realize how much unnecessary stress I was bringing home and how unfair that was to my family to do so.
Even in the chaos, I am thankful. I am thankful for the time I have been given to rest, reflect, love, and give praise. There is a peace that comes with seeking the Lord, in asking for His guidance, and taking the time to slow down and see Him working His miracles.
But it cannot stop there. Faith doesn’t stop with seeing the blessings and being thankful for them. The only thing that we get to take with us when we are gone is our works. In a time like this, what am I doing to share the love of God? What are my “works” when employment is gone? The work we are judged on is so much more than the daily tasks that we assign value. (Which makes you question our collective priorities.)
Love is shared even when we are going through our day to day 6ft away. How? Through a smile, through checking in on those we love, by helping meet the needs others, by making a meal for someone that is struggling to balance the changes that were recently placed on them, by teaching His word to others, by not reacting in fear and anger, but instead reacting with understanding and grace. By taking the time to read and study His word so I am prepared for the next time an unbeliever comes to me with a question.
Or maybe it’s something as simple as changing a personal journal entry into a shared post where it can possibly touch someone else by them knowing they aren’t alone. I, like the next person, find myself adjusting daily, by finding myself questioning what I should do next and trying to find the internal drive and direction. Often, I pray for guidance, I seek His word, and then I consider ways I can help someone feel appreciated and loved… Usually, from there, the answer is clear.
Psalms 1: 1-3 (KJV)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
And yes, during this time art has been my release…