Carpe Diem

Have you heard the one about the engineer who drove his train into a Navy medical boat to prove that it wasn’t really a floating hospital? I wish I were a day late for April Fools but apparently this really happened. The engineer must, of course, been mentally unstable, and at trial will be facing a sentence of up to twenty years in prison (which I imagine would be commuted to a mental health facility). But it begs the question: What in the heck are people thinking? While there are no shortage of conspiracy theories abounding has it really come to such random acts of violence? Thankfully no one was hurt. Not even the engineer, surprisingly. And then there’s the man hoarding medical supplies who was descended upon by the FBI earlier today…sigh.

I think some people are having a harder time with this self-quarantining than others. I am fine. Especially if my husband is home. It’s getting to me a little, but as an introvert, I love watching educational videos and reading.I love the break from social interaction and trying to adapt myself to a non-HSP world. Currently I have an embarrassing stack of books next to my bed, each waiting patiently for my full attention. I am currently reading “Up From Slavery” which is the autobiography of Booker T. Washington and a fascinating read! Really positive and inspiring. If I Booker T. were alive I would nominate him for President because he just really had a heart to help and unify the nation in the difficult period of reconstruction. His magnanimity, despite being a former slave, toward the southern white man is quite remarkable and his desire to help his people transition to freedom through education, including industrial education, is a model we should be following in our schools today. In the self-help genre, I’m reading “Sensitive and Strong” by Hughes and Gregory which is a book about highly sensitive persons. It is both a practical help and an amazing revelation to me of what goes on in my brain…

But for some people, the thought of being aware of what is going on inside their minds is uncomfortable. Most people’s routines have been upended with no hopes of going back to “normal” in sight; they are home with their children, who are also experiencing life interrupted and handling it as best as little people can. People are afraid to go to the grocery store, can’t find toilet paper and aren’t supposed to get with 6 feet of anyone who does not live inside their home. We have noticed many people have been out and about in our neck of the woods, as the weather has been quite pleasant. I haven’t seen a lot of strict social distancing going on in our neighborhood but we aren’t having church or any group meetings and I’m pretty sure the President is going to announce to everybody they should start wearing masks whenever we leave the house. Which is kinda …weird and unsettling. We just wanted to go for a drive to see Bluebonnets tomorrow but the county where we planned to drive to–closed. To anything but necessary travel.

Isolation comes in many forms. We can isolate ourselves due to depression or anxiety and it usually doesn’t turn out so well. This kind of isolation we find ourselves in the midst of today will hopefully save thousands of lives but it doesn’t make it much easier to handle. We are nervous, fearful and left alone with the internet and the news media. Not a good combination. We can get on each other’s nerves, say things we don’t mean and voila–more walls. Thankfully, we can stay connected with friends and extended family virtually through Zoom, Skype and Facetime. My 13 year old HSP homeschooler, who is on spring break this week, has been playing games on the Switch with his much older brother, who lives 17 hours away via car. We were supposed to be visiting him and his family soon but clearly that won’t be happening. A. expressed his frustration with the situation and said, “Sometimes playing together online just isn’t enough.” Yes, I feel his melancholy. And it is especially for this my heart aches. I’m fine but my heart hurts for my son and his best friend and my friends whose husbands have lost jobs or whose jobs require things that are placing major stresses on the family when stress is already at a an all-time high. I hurt for the hurting.

So what do we do to stay connected? To weather the storm? While it’s terribly old-fashioned, letter writing could be a fun, low-tech way to keep each other in the loop. Baking cookies, going for long walks, listening to audiobooks or even facebook live recordings together. One of my son’s favorite authors, Andrew Peterson, is reading from his whimsical, fantasy books on FB live in order to promote morale and book sales. I find this to be an amazingly creative way to boost spirits and supplement his income since many of his singing engagements have been canceled (he’s a recording artist primarily who writes children’s books on occasion). If your family is spread out, use Duo or Zoom to have a family meeting. I try to keep it low tech as much as possible but for everything there is a season and this appears to be the season of screens. I will probably never say this again but for now: it’s okay to use technology to combat isolation. To stay together and encourage each other until this passes.

But above all, recharge your batteries. Spend time with the Lord in His word and ask how He can use you during this time of anxiety, sadness and hopelessness. Think of this as an extended enforced Sabbath. We in American and Western Europe have for so long neglected the commandment about honoring the Sabbath, perhaps we can use this as a catalyst to restore a time of communion with our heavenly Father. Pray for the hurting, sick and dying and treasure the memories you can make with your loved ones. These memories will be the bedrock of stories. Stories the children of today will one day tell their grandchildren. Just as many of us heard our grandparents talk of the Great Depression. Please don’t waste this time asking why… Ask instead, what next? How can we celebrate each day we have together being grateful for all that we have and for all that He’s done. Don’t. Miss. This. Moment.

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