Quarantine has been a rollercoaster. Only one thing has kept me from flying totally off the rails. Maybe you can relate.
It all started so fast:
Things are weird. My work email had some ominous messages about not coming in if you don’t feel well.
We had an emergency meeting at work, telling us not to panic.
We received an email that we are all working from home—effective immediately. The introverted me silently squeals with excitement. I order my groceries, plan my calendar, put on my flannel Christmas pants, and settle in. I cannot wait to get caught up on cleaning, reading, and getting in shape.
March 23rd: Almost everyone is working from home now. The only things open (in my little world) are home improvement stores and grocery stores. All doctor’s appointments were suddenly canceled. My Amazon Subscribe and Save toilet paper order mysteriously did not arrive as scheduled. My Kroger Click List order was only 30% filled. They claimed they are out of all coffee. That means I am going to have to go into the store, which I hated before there was a pandemic. They were telling the truth. There is no coffee OR toilet paper OR flour. I internally judge people who are buying too much of the stuff I want. I don’t care if you take all the canned beans, but leave some Hot Pockets for the rest of us.
When the stay-at-home order started back in March, I had no idea how long it would last. I thought, as an introvert, I would thrive with a reduced calendar of work and social obligations. I thought I would get a ton of stuff done around my house. I imagined an organized garage with shelves I built myself. I was going to write a book! But a few weeks in—I floundered.
When the immediate excitement drained and the uncertainty of the future set in, I drowned my boredom in sugar and Netflix. Why do laundry today when I could do it tomorrow? It seemed like nothing I did made a difference. Every day feels the same—unimportant.
It felt like my entire identity had been stripped away. Who am I without people to laugh at my jokes? Who am I without co-workers to tell me my ideas are good? Who am I if I cannot schedule or plan the next big thing? I spiraled. And there was actually a good reason for it.
I don’t know what you believe about God, but I believe the one in the Bible. Whether you do or not, there’s some stuff in there that just makes sense. One of the first things it tells us is that God never intended for us to be alone. When He created Adam in the garden, it was the only time he did not say, “It is good.” He knew right away that Adam needed someone. I think he knew he would go insane talking to animals outside all day. (Speaking of which—I totally caught myself talking to “Mr. Squirrel” out of my window today. I’m naming all the creatures as God instructed).
Luckily, a friend of mine (a dreaded extrovert) started hosting Zoom meetings for a handful of us three times a week at 7am. Sometimes, I get up and make coffee and join the meeting while I eat cereal. Sometimes, I roll over in bed and log in to the call before I am able to speak real words. Sometimes, I sleep through it. But it’s always there—meeting when I need them.
When I thought I might drink again (after 14 years of sobriety), this is the group that I told. As soon as I said the words out loud, I started crying. They prayed for me. And the compulsion to drink was considerably lightened. I was free again because I had let others in, and they took some of my burden. I was reminded by my new friends that it’s going to be OK. I am cared for even though I can’t see them in person.
This past weekend, one of the group members sent us a Facebook message that her father died. Over the next 24 hours, we called, sent texts, and prayed for her and her family. We are supporting her as best we can.
God makes so many promises to us about the power of having a community. He says, “Confess your sins to one another, and you will be healed” in James 5:16. It says that where two or more are gathered, God Himself is there (Matthew 18:20). It says, don’t give up meeting together as some have the habit of doing, but consider how we may SPUR one another on in good deeds and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). It says we need each other the way our bodies need all the different body parts healthy to function well (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Having a Zoom group during this stay-at-home order has given me deep relationships with people I barely knew or didn’t know before. We are working together to process our range of emotions as we all share this wild experience. Not every meeting is filled with heart-wrenching confessions or even super interesting conversations. But the familiarity that is building is what makes those deeper conversations possible when they are needed.
I have no idea what week or month it is anymore. I think we are on week 100 of this. I do know my group will meet tomorrow morning at 7am.
It’s been pretty uneventful for me since our last meeting, and I don’t have anything I need to talk about. Nevertheless, I have set my alarm and will be ready to see some familiar faces (minus makeup) and support them if they need it.
Get started by trying a group here.