I have so many feelings, sitting down to write this to you. Our world, like literally the whole world, is reeling. Invisible invaders are on the move. I am more confused than fearful – there is no protocol for this. While wanting to protect my community and neighbors, I am also desperately desiring to reach out and invite someone over to help us eat the massive pot of chili my husband is cooking. We were made for community. But this is the thing that I am so quick to forget; I already have community in my own family, right here inside of my home.
A community right here at home
As a stay-at-home mother of four very young children, my tasks are repetitive and to escape the monotony we leave our house daily, usually more than once. We are scheduled with good things-church, Bible study, MOPS, preschool, play dates, parties and soccer. I am struck, sitting here thinking, at how much time and effort goes into prepping for each of those outings. Getting myself ready, rounding up five pairs of shoes, filling up water bottles, checking that our diaper bag is stocked and buckling four car seats all takes a LONG time. Then we are gone and by the time we come back we need to eat and nap and most of the day is gone.
Maybe the reason I forget that I have a tiny community in my own home is because we are hardly ever here. Enter Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are only a few days into distancing ourselves from the outside world, but the change I feel inside is acute. Weights I didn’t know were there have been lifted. There is nothing immediate to plan for and no one to keep up with. With no visitors, I don’t feel the constant internal nagging to pick up everything at all moments. I am stopping long enough to see sweetness I often rush past.
Finding a purpose for rest
I am not naïve to the challenges in contentment and frustrations that will continue to pop up as we do our part to rage war on a virus by staying inside, but I desperately want this time to have a purpose. I want to cherish it and don’t want to miss this space and freedom just to sit. Sit and read my book while the kids play, sit with them on my lap, sit and start leisurely packing a few boxes for our upcoming move. The hustle has stopped. And in this new space, I find myself coming back to hopes and plans I have for our young family that can only happen inside of our home. Consistent morning devotional time together, involving our kids in chores, traditions like weekly game or movie nights, one-on-one time with each of them and sit-down dinners with funny or deep conversations.
I don’t assume all these things will magically fall into place over the next few weeks, but in the midst of the sorrow for this tragedy I have a joyful expectancy. Time and space have been made and something good will grow here.