Status Report, COVID-19 Edition

A million years ago…ok, so maybe not exactly a million years ago, maybe more like ten years ago, which might as well be a million years when it comes to online content…anyway, a long time ago, back when I used to blog two, three, sometimes more, times a week, I came up with a monthly post format I entitled “Status Report.” It really was the humblest form of blogging, not much more than a quick and easy way to generate content. I would share a report as it were of what I was doing, thinking, reading, drinking, etc., all in the present progressive tense (Sitting…at my dining room table. Drinking…coffee, black). Other blogging friends joined in, sharing snippets of ordinary moments on a monthly basis.

Given the crazy times in which we find ourselves, I thought I might once again offer a status report of sorts, a record of life as we know it. We truly are currently living in unprecedented times. As I read in a recent article, what better time to blog if for no other reason but to chronicle this unique time in history? More than once I’ve said to my husband, “We are absolutely living in the upside down.” I mean, hello, coronavirus craziness aside, gas is currently A DOLLAR FORTY THREE. What?! Craziness, y’all.

Like the rest of you, my current status has me at home. The last time I did anything “normal” was March 17, my last Bible study session. I had made the decision to end prematurely, agonizing over it really, not at all sure that I’d made the correct decision. In other words, I had no idea at that point that we would soon be under a shelter-in-place order.

I get out of the house about once a week to go to the grocery store and run other “essential” errands (like, say, picking up carryout! totally essential!). Though most do, I haven’t worn a mask, although I suspect it may get to the point it’s required. I generally take a Clorox wipe with me and use it to open the door, wipe down the grocery cart, etc. Grocery shopping a few weeks ago was quite the challenge with so many empty shelves and so many items sold out or unavailable. This was the first week I felt like the selection had returned to mostly normal, though the shopping itself is not normal: one way aisles, limited number of shoppers at one time, plexiglass at the checkout. It’s all so surreal.

My husband has been working from home these last four weeks or so. My two college students are also home, having come home for Spring Break and then remaining after their university transitioned to online instruction.

We were actually in the process of making the decision to move when the pandemic hit. It’s beyond bizarre but we have put our house on the market and have purchased a house in another town! I have been packing, glad for the focus and purpose the boxes and tape and bubble wrap grant me. In other words, it gives me something to do. That, and the dirty dishes. Let’s just say that four adults home all day every day = so many dishes!!!

All that said, if truth be told, I’ve not been transitioning well. I never would have described myself as such, but I suppose I am a creature of habit, of routine, of clearly defined tasks: teach Sunday school on Sunday, prepare for Bible study on Monday, teach on Tuesday, volunteer at the pregnancy center on Wednesday, and so on. Who am I apart from what I do? I am surprised to find I don’t really know.

The last Sunday our church met, I made the joke to my Sunday School class that I was born for this, a homebody with an extra large personal space. Stay at home and don’t hug anyone? I got this! How wrong I was. I don’t just miss what I do, I miss people. A shocking confession for a hard core introvert! And Sundays are the hardest for me. I miss my church family, I miss physically being together. I’ve taught and asserted many times, now I know this to be true: the physical manifestation of the church meeting together bodily fuels my endurance, bolsters my joy, strengthens my faith. Last night I was with some friends from church–mind you, we were outside, in a circle of no more than ten, all of us six feet apart. We did nothing but chat and it did my heart such good.

I confess I am ashamed of my whining. So many are suffering so terribly; what are my struggles compared to theirs? While it is true my complaining often indicates a self-centered pity party, it is also true that weird is weird, hard is hard, struggles are struggles. And God’s grace in Jesus Christ holds, sustains, and comforts.

Someone shared the following post on Instagram that encouraged me so.

Regardless of our status, we’re all adjusting. Let us cling to the truth that God’s grace is sufficient, His mercies new every morning, even in–and perhaps especially in–this weird, abnormal time. Our Savior loves us so; He holds us fast. This is our hope. This is our comfort. May we trust Jesus to carry us.