What’s your new normal since the #coronaviruspandemic has come right into our backyard? Are we living in a post-apocalyptic America? Will this end like the Insurgent movie trilogies or maybe be more like The Giver or even The Hunger Games? Will resources run dry and make us turn on one another? Will I only be wearing yoga pants and sweatshirts in the foreseeable future? Ahhh!
In my last post, What Am I Learning From Coronavirus and #TheWorldTurnedUpsideDown, I mentioned witnessing the best and worst of mankind, as well as the opportunities we all have to do incredible things in the kingdom of God. Today I’m going to talk about something more intimate and personal: Friendships amidst social distancing and self-quarantine.
First we start with…
The State of the Union
According to the Los Angeles Times (3/17/2020), major West Coast cities (L. A. and San Francisco) have just announced complete lockdowns of nonessential civilian activities as new cases and the death toll rise. Even in upscale Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and all the plastic surgeon offices are closed along with theaters, gyms, nail and hair salons.
Say whaat? Girlfriend, I don’t know about you, but this Church Girl needs her roots and nails done. Even. In. Quarantine. Things are really bad when I can’t cover my grays and chat with my favorite stylist and nail tech.
New York City is now listed as the epicenter of the epidemic. I’m thankful I cancelled our Spring Break plans when the winds of change began to blow across our nation. (Too bad we only were able to get a credit for the next twelve months on our airline and hotel reservations instead of a refund!) At that time I was just concerned about Broadway being closed; I had little understanding about how quickly this virus would spread or how seriously it would affect everything around me.
One of my best friends lives in The Villages, Florida, a retirement community full of at-risk aging or immunocompromised individuals. I just flew down to visit her in Florida last month. Having had weekly telephone chats for months, when I called her today, she gave me a picture of what their “new normal” is looking like these days.
They are not leaving their home right now since she has autoimmune diseases. She just had a cath last week to be sure her heart is still working well. My clever friend told me she has been ordering her groceries online having them delivered to her front door. They now have a delivery protocol where her husband Lysol-sprays the handles of the bags and wipes down everything with Clorox bleach wipes before putting things away in the pantry.
She has another friend who is an opera singer in Italy. When she called her Monday, with the massive outbreak encompassing the entire boot as the Italians see a wartime-level hospital crisis, the soprano hadn’t left her house in weeks. I wonder if she was one of the people we’ve seen singing on her balcony…
In my smaller, conservative and less exotic midwestern city, we will most likely soon be going on full lockdown, too. The governor has already closed all bars and restaurants; our favorite chef’s food will only be available through pickup or delivery. I’m waiting to hear about mandatory #socialdistancing and curfews next as of the publishing of this post. (3/17/2020)
Many aren’t taking the quarantine seriously yet. I think this might be a huge miscalculation.
The following is from an article my father sent us earlier in the pandemic. As a former world expert in high containment and infectious animal diseases, he’s had his eye on CV for more than a month. I take what he shared seriously.
The coronavirus is coming to you.It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two. [If you start social distancing or isolation right now, a difference of even 1 day can translate to up to a 40% reduction in the probability of infection.]When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die– and some have died already.Medical professionals may have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.~Tomas Pueyo
Can You Believe It?
As I have reached out to other writers and friends across the nation, I am finding we all are experiencing one thing in common: Disbelief. Can you blame us? When has the world last seen something like this? Probably not since the flu epidemic of 1918.
School closings this month have some parents freaking about homeschooling their own children. (Momma, it’s going to be okay. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. If I’ve done it before, you can do it, too! I’m going to link some homeschooling resources at the end of the post just for you.)
Restaurant closings have some of us thinking, What?! Who’s going to cook for my family? Others of us are using this time to get busy baking and trying out brand new recipes with our kids. And I’m thankful for that online ordering and curbside delivery right about now, how about you?
Other friends have mentioned feeling discombobulated, unmotivated, listless, or stir-crazy. It’s no wonder: We are all in shock.
Remember when we were joking last week about the Daylight Savings time changes here in America, the fullest moon of 2020 rising, and Friday the 13th? We had no idea how upside-down life would be in the days ahead.
How Can We Overcome Social Isolation?
Who would have thought this was going to be our new normal? What about the physical and social isolation?
As a writer and Bible researcher, I’m set up for solitary confinement by nature. In fact, I prefer silence and a hermit’s life at times. Except when I don’t.
What I’ve learned through my time working inside of a church and being married to a leader is that I have had to reach out across distances to find “safe” friends who don’t know me, my husband, my leaders, or my church. (In the past, it’s not been unusual for people to try to “mine” me for information about the inner happenings at church that I’m not at liberty to discuss.) It’s been lonely at times, but I’ve found solutions.
My Instagram platform and the like-minded girlfriends I have met there from all over the world have been some of my favorite coworkers in the Gospel and such an encouragement to me. Some of us have been having weekly online coffee dates for months, simply because I was yearning for godly fellowship and edifying conversations with other prayer warriors, leaders, wives, and mothers. It’s been a great way to not feel so lonely, to find accountability and to mobilize an incredible prayer team.
Life Changes In The Quarantine
For many of us, to not have in-person contact with friends is disconcerting. “Life in the time of quarantine” might be really difficult in these next months.
However, there are creative ways to combat that if we’re willing to entertain other venues for friendships. Maybe a virtual coffee date could fill your cup right now and keep you (and others!) out of Covid-19’s way. It can be as simple as a phone call. You can also use Skype, FaceTime or (my favorite!) Zoom on your phone or computer. We could also go back to handwriting letters…
We have so many ways to reach out and love one another. You wanna have a coffee date with me? I’ve got nothing but time.
Don’t let the quarantine wear you out or wear you down, Beloved. Let’s make the most of it!