Balancing Sane and Safe

As of late, the only thing that’s traveling is this virus.  So, I don’t have any travel updates (especially since my trip to Europe got cancelled for this week).  But I still get messages, almost daily, from friends near and far, checking in and asking how I’m doing.  (Which I love!) This is my attempt to answer that question.

I am good, with an undercurrent of added daily stress. I am toiling out the balance between safe and sane. And I’m staying home.

I still have church Sunday mornings and cell group every other Sunday night. I still work full days doing speech therapy. I still exercise after work. I have prayer night with church once a week and regularly hang out with my upstairs neighbors. I meet up with friends for coffee chats and catch ups.

Of course, church and cell group and prayer night and even coffee chats are all online. As is work. Six full hours of paperwork and back to back sessions, talking parents through logging onto new programs, leaving messages and calling back. It’s all from the little corner of my apartment. For prizes I give students video tours of my home.

How I stay sane:

I work. Several people have asked if we are doing elearning through the end of the year. We don’t know. Firstly, because our school year doesn’t end until June 26th. Secondly, because in a city of 1.1 million students and zero preparation, every part of this elearning process has been a ‘figure it out as we go’ situation. We know this is lasting through the end of the month. That’s enough information for me right now. All in all, switching to elearning has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for productive things to do and enjoy seeing my students.

Social distancing selfies. Totally possible.

I walk. My gym is closed and my house is small. In fact, my ceiling is too short for jumping jacks. But I’ve been blessed with miles of well paved sidewalks all around me. So I walk to the park and meet up with people from church to make a loop around the reservoir, trying to keep those precious 6 ft between us.

Social distancing dinner, on the patio.

I visit my neighbors and their children visit me. We live in the same house, I below them. And they were friends from church before they were my neighbors. They feed me meals and I make them cookies. We chat where we can and it is balm to the brain of this extrovert who lives alone in a basement during quarantine.

I open my curtain. I have a window on my door. I have noticed that the simple act of opening the curtain on that window makes a difference to my sanity during my water breaks from teletherapy.

Church community. We have sharing time on zoom, prayer meeting on zoom, even Spanish class on zoom. I have been gifted care packages, drawings, donuts, dinners, and songs, all from the safety of outside, looking in. By that I mean, they stand outside my door and I stand in. We keep our distance. But there is something like salve on an itchy mosquito bite when we see someone face to face.

How I stay safe (the usual):

  1. I stay home. As much as possible.
  2. I wash my hands WELL and LONG.
  3. I try to keep my distance.
  4. I used to hold my breath as I passed people on the street, but now I wear a scarf in public. Don’t worry, someone is making me a mask.
  5. I’ve started disinfecting things, like my groceries and my door handles.
  6. I’ve started wearing gloves, specifically in stores and places where I will be touching public surfaces.

How I stay calm:

  1. God. He is growing my faith. Giving me peace as I watch the death toll in my city rise. As I hear daily of it’s affect on people I love and care about. It’s comforting to know this does not surprise Him, He’s in control, and He won’t leave us.
  2. Perspective. This is not the first time in history that a pandemic has rocked the world. Maybe the first time in my life. But not ever. Historically, humanity has survived.
  3. Perspective taking. My trip to Europe for spring break got canceled (as did my spring break, but it is what it is), which means I won’t get to visit Anne Frank’s house in the Netherlands as planned. Or the tulip festival there either. But I found a link to do a virtual tour of Anne Frank’s hideaway home. So I did, and I was struck by the irony. She was stuck in this little space with nothing to do but homework. Same, sister! Except I’m not running from Nazis. And I can probably go to the Netherlands some other time. So like, how incredibly lucky am I!?

What I pray for (please join me):

  1. Health care workers, especially in hardest hit hospitals. Yes, the stories of refrigerated semi’s repurposed as portable morgues are true. The protective gear shortages. The long hours. The turning of most floors and offices, as well as conference centers and tents, into patient rooms. True. Please join me in prayer for the people working in these environments and their families who long to support them.
  2. The believers. That we would find the balance between safety and courage. That we would creatively love others in meaningful ways. And take opportunities to speak truth and love into such a vulnerable time.
  3. Peace. We humans aren’t so good at trusting God. It takes practice. Pray that the world would seek and find that lasting peace that God promises.

A parting note:

There seems to be speculation on the internet about the ‘truth’ of the virus.  It’s hard to hear “it’s not true” when I’m living that truth every day. Please remember that these numbers are people. And people are connected to people. If you aren’t sure what that should look like right now, read Romans 12: 9-21. I’ll leave verses 10- 13 for you here: 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Please, be kind.