The Big Pause

WOW, how the world has changed in just a couple of weeks!

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Too much talking! Too much Zoom!

Here in Pennsylvania, we are on our second week of being asked to stay at home, with all non–life-sustaining businesses shut down. I’ve spent more time on Zoom video calls than I care to remember (although I am grateful for the technology to keep me connected to my church family and networking groups). But my ears are tired. I crave returning to a variety of ways to connect with friends and clients.

If you are quarantined (by your own choice or your governments, how are you holding up? How has the 24/7 family time impacted your mental, emotional, and spiritual health? If you are quarantined alone, what are you doing to connect with people safely? What are you doing for self-care?

I made some conscious choices as this started. I would NOT care what I ate. I am a stress eater and food speaks comfort to me. (I know, I know. Hold the lectures, please.) But I committed to logging at least 10,000 steps a day with at least 15 minutes of it spent outdoors (the rest are done in loops around the interior of my house; needless to say, I do as much as possible of it outdoors). I’ve only missed one day, and it was a choice I made, and not a wise one. The outdoor walks have been a mental health saver. When anxiety begins to tighten my chest, when I’ve forced myself to go to a store to get a needed supply, I wind up feeling panicky. An outdoor walk helps me to slow my breath. I take time to notice the flowers and name their varieties and colors. I listen for the birds, see the squirrels and bunnies race across lawns.

Last week on my walk I ran into our bug guy. He comes to our home three times a year to treat inside and out so I don’t ever have to see creepy-crawly creatures. Anyway, Patrick lives at the far end of our neighborhood, the end that I only see on my most ambitious walks. As we stood about 8 feet apart (I’m extra cautious) and discussed the state of the world and how rapidly life had been altered, Patrick said an interesting thing:

“I wonder how this will cause people to reevaluate their lives?”

Do we need this big house, all these ‘toys’—both kids and adults? Do my kids need to be in all those activities? Do we really want to be so busy running here and there? Do I need to work so much to pay for all this stuff that can be gone in an instant?

Les and I are trying to clear stuff out of our home as we anticipate downsizing this year. We are donating so many things that we “just had to have” that look brand-new because apparently we didn’t need them after all. What questions will I ask myself as I resume buying after the quarantine or after we downsize?

I’ve had to get used to Les being home more during this quarantine time, especially in the evening. Are all those meetings necessary? Could they be handled better, more efficiently electronically as the world and church rev up again? I’ll be honest, I can’t wait to get back to meeting people in person—preferably at Panera Bread—but can I reconsider the idea of holding some through Zoom so as not to be running every day?

And are there questions we can be asking about our spiritual lives? Why while quarantined did I still “not have time” to spend reading my Bible and praying? How can I connect more with the people in my church and my neighborhood? How can I use social media better to share my faith? COVID-19 reminds us we live in an interconnected world—how am I praying for and engaging with the church and missions around the globe?

What will the Big Pause have you reevaluating?

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