2nd April – Liv
The isolation blues are upon us.
For me – an extrovert who thrives on seeing people very regularly and being extremely busy – this forced social isolation (or physical distancing) thing is really hard.
I realise it’s hard for us all – introverts, extroverts, social butterflies and wallflowers alike. We all need human connection, and when we’re suddenly told we can’t have it (at least not as easily) it’s really difficult.
Like many of you, I’ve been pretty much in iso at home for a couple weeks. Working from home, I began cancelling all my plans, one after the next, as I wondered how I would stay sane through this period of being housebound.
As the days went on, I noticed myself checking my phone more incessantly than usual, tuning into ABC news more than is necessary, and feeling the need to be in constant (virtual) communication with all my friends – suddenly, I felt busier than normal, jumping from one FaceTime catch up to the next.
In what could become a time to embrace the space I have to potter in the garden, write creatively, read books and play music, I’ve actually been filling my hours with constant noise and busyness, instead of taking the opportunity for some stillness and quiet. (Who knew that being at home 24/7 would exacerbate my compulsive vacuum cleaning habit??)
Now I realise not all of you will relate to this – this is only my experience. Some of you might be blissfully turning off your phones and meditating all day every day. Good for you! (Can you please be my life mentor?)
But others are perhaps like me, unable to rest, relax and stop worrying in this time. Others again would be busy and stressed with the demands of working from home and/or looking after children who might be home from school. Family relationships might be strained, and your mental health might be depleted.
There’s also the fear – fear of the unknown, fear for our health and our loved ones, fear of lost jobs/income, and fear of what our society might become.
I’m feeling all of these things.
But as I was sitting on my porch the other morning, listening to the chirping birds and feeling the sun warm my skin, I heard two words in my head – SLOW DOWN. It was so clear – slow down, and breathe, the voice said.
I thought immediately of that oft-quoted line in Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Slowing down and being still are hard for me. I like to be busy, active, always on the move (literally – ask Chelsea and she can tell you about my constant pacing around the house).
But perhaps this is a season to try and slow down, in whatever way you can. You may not have the luxury of having a quiet home environment like I do (obvs I’m not a parent), but maybe there are ways to make intentional time and space during this physical distancing season.
It might be about starting your day with a meditation or reflection, some yoga, a prayer walk; or finishing your day with a family prayer, evening stroll or reading a book.
Maybe there’s some beauty in the fact we’ve all been forced to change our plans and stay home. Perhaps we will get to know ourselves a bit better. Connect more deeply with our families and loved ones. Pick up that book we’ve been meaning to read. Practice that instrument we said we’d learn. Start that new hobby we’ve been putting off for years.
But whatever we do, do it slowly. We’ve got time. At the moment it seems we have a lot more of it than normal! Let’s stay connected to each other, but also find the time for ourselves we might all need.
And be assured that God is with us in all seasons – in the chaos and uncertainty, in the stillness and the quiet. Draw near to God in this time – whether we’re alone or together, God is with us and works through us.
Be still, slow down, and know that God is with you.