I’ve found myself daydreaming a lot lately. You could almost say fantasizing. My fantasies include sending my children to play at their friends’ houses, laying on the beach, attending church on Sundays, and grocery shopping that doesn’t resemble an extreme sport.
I don’t think anyone is free from worrying about something connected to the COVID shutdown, and in order to not add to our collective worries, I’ll refrain here from providing examples. Suffice it to say, there’s enough stress to go around.
The COVID Quarantine has provided a lot of quiet time for reflection, for hapless musings, even the aforementioned fantasies, but I find myself thinking of not only the things I miss, but also the things I have learned to love.
Believe it or not, there are things that I worry, so to speak, will disappear after government restrictions are lifted. There are actually things that I have watched develop in my family, in our communities, even in myself, that I want to hold on to when this is all said and done.
Things I Hope to Hold Onto Post-Quarantine:
1. Time spent outside
I’ve seen the jokes about people before quarantine being glued to their electronics inside all day vs. people during quarantine all outside while we’re supposed to be at home. And while I understand there might be some level of “you want what you can’t have” mentality at play here, I also think there’s an underlying drive to go back to basics awakening inside some of us. One of those “basics” is embracing the natural world around us and getting outside.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”Henry David Thoreau
I also believe our mental and emotional health is under attack from the anxiety of the unknown, the fear-mongering, the financial strain of unemployment, the restrictions on our everyday activities, and somewhere buried deep in our subconscious is an awareness (hopefully) that being outside heals so much of our wounded minds and bodies.
My family and I have spent more time riding our bikes in the last month than we have for years previous. Yes, the exercise is great, but even better for me is the time spent with my children and my spouse. It’s time that is free from complaining and free from outside influences. It’s invigorating, relaxing, and uniting.
When the COVID Quarantine is over, I hope my family’s bikes don’t get rusty. When the parks and beaches reopen, I hope we spend more time at the tennis courts, the playground, the ocean, and the woods than we have for years before.
2. Increasing Personal Worship
My faith has been the foundation of my entire life. Through all my life’s difficulties and changes, it has been my constant companion.
When our church was closed, I didn’t imagine it would have such a profound effect on me. I don’t consider myself a “Sunday” Christian—I try to “practice” my religion, so to speak, every day. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, sometimes I viewed the time actually spent at church as a nuisance—sometimes it was even a slight impediment to my spiritual growth.
But, I also knew, more times than not, I received strength to my testimony of Jesus Christ from others. The Quarantine has greatly restricted that dependency.
What I didn’t expect to happen, when the churches closed, was to watch my home become a Sanctuary of Faith. I never imagined that my own church would open in my home, for the great blessing of myself and my family. With our Sunday worship now held in our home, it has removed the subconscious belief that religion is something we practice somewhere else.
“Conscientiously and carefully transform your home into a sanctuary of faith.”Russell M. Nelson
Our home is now our place for worship all throughout the week, and the responsibility for nurturing our spirits falls squarely upon our own individual shoulders. I believe this is how God always intended it. Our worship should be personal, and it should be shared with, and strengthened by those we hold most dear.
I will, no doubt, be glad to go back to my Church family, to serve them, to learn and grow with them. But, after the COVID Quarantine has ended, I hope my home will continue to be a Sanctuary of Faith.
3. Confidence in caring for my Family
Semi-weekly grocery shopping for a family of 6 looked like I was preparing for a Natural Disaster before the COVID Quarantine. Now, it’s considerably worse. Now, we practice meal planning on steroids.
It’s something akin to preparing for my Thanksgiving Dinner shopping trip, knowing I absolutely will not set foot in the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. If I’ve forgotten something, it’s time to get creative.
But more than just the detail-oriented planning, I have long-term planning now permanently fixed in the back of my mind. If the stores were all closed tomorrow, could I feed my family? For how long?
What about their other needs? Do I have the resources to meet their social needs? Their spiritual and educational needs? Can I help quell their fears and anxieties? Can I help them relax and enjoy life? Teach them self-sufficiency? The list of questions goes on and on.
And the answer to all of them is, yes, I can. The answer is yes because everything can be simplified.
My children aren’t going to take their end-of-year exams…oh, darn. Meanwhile they now spend every day reading for pleasure, playing the piano, drawing cartoons, making meals, learning to fix cars and bikes, and even woodworking!
Our daily routine looks nothing like what it used to, and I love it. Things that seemed important before are suddenly, not. But everyone is happy and safe, and I’m the one (with the help of my husband, of course) who made that possible. My family, like countless others, have learned to pull together and weather the unexpected.
If I have the ability to care for my family’s needs during the COVID Quarantine, you bet I can after.
4. Pulling Together
It’s not just families that have learned to pull together. We’ve seen it nationally—through support of teachers, medical professionals, first responders, who all have garnered new-found respect. Locally, I watched as two women who had reached the last package of toilet paper at the grocery store, split the package in half in the parking lot.
Dare I say there has been a general decrease in selfishness? Even with social distancing parameters in place, I’ve witnessed neighbors helping one another. In my own neighborhood, people have left food and household supplies on their front porch to anyone in need.
There has been an increase in awareness that has caused an increase in generosity. People’s minds are turning outward, to help where they can, and even the smallest act of service, makes a world of difference.
“Recognize that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others.”Shep Hyken
All these things together make me recognize there is a lot of good left in the world, and also, there is unity to be had if only we seek it.
When the COVID Quarantine Ends…
Life will return to normal. Even if things post-COVID are never quite the same as they were before, we will adjust to a new normal. How desperately I hope when the Quarantine is over, the discovery that we are capable of pulling together, and the blessings that come from that selflessness never leave us.
I hope our homes will all become Sanctuaries of Faith and refuges from the storms of life.
I hope we will learn to embrace simplicity, shed our lives of the unnecessary, and embrace the glories of nature.
When the COVID Quarantine ends, I hope we will have learned enough to become better mothers, fathers, friends, citizens, humans.