I read something recently that said something along the lines of “people need to document their days and what life is like under quarantine for the sake of history and remembering.” Where are the historians? Who will be the ones to tell the stories of our lives in 2020?
I used to be a big blogger—back before it was all content marketing and SEO keywords. I used to think of my personal blog as a self-indulgent online journal—my commentary on life as I know it. I stopped blogging when we had three kids in less than three years. Since then I’ve set lots of goals and made lots of promises about rebooting this blog, but I have stalled on what to write and how to package it all etc. I get stuck on choosing a niche, narrowing my focus, perfecting the design and layout, and coming up with clever titles.
I decided that I am going to take it back to the old school blogging I used to do in the early 2000s. I am not going to worry so much about everything being perfect, writing to personas, and not starting every sentence with “I.” This blog will be Wholeheartedly Unplugged. Because the truth is that I am a writer, God made me a writer, and writing is the way I can contribute and do my part in the body of Christ. I don’t need to wait until things are perfect. There is a time for everything, a time to be silent and a time to speak.
The truth is— I need this. I need a place to process all the things and express myself. My enneagram 4 is dying to create something and give all my big feelings a home. So to be honest, I really don’t care if this blog is optimized or monetized or in any way strategic. I am writing for God, for the sake of keeping a record of the crazy days we are living in, and hopefully, connect with others in the process.
With that said, here are my initial impressions and observations of life under COVID-19.
Keep Ya Love Lockdown
We are coming up on two weeks of shelter in place. Other than walks around the local park, the kids haven’t left the house since our last Classical Conversations community day on 3/10. I’ve been out to the store for groceries and meds but other than that we are homebound. On top of all this, it has been raining and raining and raining. It feels like we’ve only had 10 days of sunshine since Jan 1. Kids are handling it pretty well but Lucas is starting to get nervous that GetAir won’t be open on his May birthday. We homeschool so they are used to being home to some extent, but as with most homeschoolers, we are rarely home all day. Under normal circumstances, we have activities every day of the week so not leaving the house has been hard for us all. But thankfully we are all healthy and glad to do our part to flatten the curve.
We Don’t Need No Education
I feel so much compassion for my public school friends. Schools are shutdown nation-wide (word-wide, really) and parents have been thrown into the impossible task of suddenly having to homeschool their kids, doing whatever they can to maintain some sense of normalcy, and keep the academic ball moving down the field until schools reopen. I also feel deeply for my friends who are educators and are being asked to create digital classroom environments out of thin air. I know they worry about the kids they love and have invested in all year. Some of my closest friends have high school seniors. I can’t imagine the range of emotions they’re working through right now.
Mommy’s Alright, Daddy’s alright, They Just Seem a Little Weird.
I keep thinking about how the kids are processing all of this. We are not afraid and we are not alarmist. We talk openly about what’s going on with them. They know that the “flu” is really bad and we have to stay inside to keep them (and others) safe. They can’t know the depth of the problems we are facing as a nation and shouldn’t right now. They’re only 5, 6, and 8. But I know they can sense that things are weird. Like, why is Daddy working from home every day and why is mommy watching press conferences on Facebook (and who is that man with the funny hair). We are all learning to work our homeschool days around daddy’s conference calls and are seriously considering converting one of the boys’ rooms into a home office (shhh don’t tell them that!).
You Don’t Gotta Go to Work, Work, Work, Work
As cases continue to rise in Tennessee, we can’t be sure how long we will be working from home. I have worked from home for nearly 5 years so I already have my rhythms in place. I work part-time as a writer for a marketing company and we all work virtually. We regularly use Zoom, Slack, and all the virtual tools to do our work and, for now, work hasn’t slowed down too much (thank the Lord!). We’ve been working hard to help our clients adjust to the changes and doing whatever we can to help them weather the storm. Our focus has shifted to “encouraging and equipping,” which really, is what most of us need right now—give me hope and tell me how to do it. Serving in this space gives me a renewed sense of purpose in my work. I’ve always loved this job and felt incredibly blessed to do what I love and work from home.
I thought, “Hey, I can leave, I can leave” oh but now I know that I was wrong
I am starting to feel like the walls are closing in and it’s only been two weeks! Our friends in other countries have been confined much longer than that. I can be a bit of a day-dreamer and lately I find myself dreaming of wide open spaces. I am secretly planning an extended vacation out west. I am following all the Instagram hashtags for Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. It feels really strange to not be “free” to just pick up and go. Spontaneity, lost. As soon as it’s safe to, we are going somewhere, I don’t know where, but I will gladly do my part to stimulate the economy on vacation anywhere but here. I am so jealous of my friends social distancing at their lake houses. A change of scenery would be really nice right now. I miss seeing people, too. We bumped into some friends on our walk the other day and I had to hold myself back from bear-hugging all of them.
Cathedrals in My Heart
Church online isn’t that novel for us. Our church in Virginia had an internet campus and I watch my fair share of sermons from The Village Church in Texas. Our church here in Memphis is doing an amazing job of keeping us as connected as possible and I have been so encouraged by the last two week’s sermons (check them out here). They’ve set up a round-the-clock prayer time, instituted Monday fasting at lunch and weekly scripture memorization, they’ve identified the most vulnerable in our congregation and mobilizing folks to meet needs (while practicing social distancing), and the elders are writing daily devotions. I love seeing pastors and church leaders leveraging social media and other creative communication channels. I hope this continues even after the doors reopen.
I am thankful that we can still meet together online, but there is something very eerie to me about being prohibited from physically attending church. I get it, I know it’s temporary and necessary. But it still feels weird to be prohibited from going to church in real life. Is it still social distancing if we have a sunrise service in an open field? Speaking of sunrise services, I can’t imagine not being able to go to church on Easter. As a former church employee, I implore you to not stop giving to your local church. They’re all working around the clock to overcome the obstacles, serve creatively, and meet the needs of the people under their care.
Do You Remember When We Used to Be Those Happy Kids?
Things changed fast. We are all embracing the new normal while silently coming to terms that things will never be the same. I don’t know what the future holds and I won’t offer any platitudes. Times are tough and they may get worse before they get better. So my encouragement to anyone still reading this is give yourself grace. Make a playlist and turn up the music. Give your kids an extra hour of screen-time (they’ll be fine). Organize a social distancing picnic with your neighbors (don’t leave your driveways!). Bake cinnamon rolls from scratch. Call an old friend. Take a class (I would LOVE to sign up for MasterClass if anyone wants to go in with me on the buy one, give one deal let me know). Find something life-giving to do and do it DAILY. Put down the memes and pick up your Bible. Read Psalm 90 and 91. Memorize them! I am trying to. I think we will all be better for it.
I am not exactly sure how to land this plane. I have so much more to say (and song lyrics as section headers—prizes for anyone who can name all the songs!) but I will end it for now with this:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18