Noon, Monday: The dog rubbed his nose against my blanket as the phone buzzed. My eyes heavy, I had curled onto the sofa after breakfast and was soon in deep sleep, but did I really conk out until noon?
Honestly, I could coast through my days right now and no one would make me feel guilty. It seems reasonable for a senior with what’s called “an underlying disease” to drift through spring into summer, or whenever this corona-crap is controlled.
But I don’t want to.
I’m learning sleepiness and fatigue are not the same. A breast cancer survivor says she’s tired even when she’s resting, making restorative sleep almost impossible. That’s fatigue.
Fatigue sounds fatiguing, as if they couldn’t come up with a more pleasant word to describe it.
My meds conspire to make me sleepy, from which I eventually emerge more upbeat and alert than if I’d been wrapped in a gray sheet of fatigue
Only my hubby knows how much I snooze, and he encourages me to rest when I can. Does it really matter if I doze the days away? We’re all stuck at home anyway, if you look at self-isolation that way.
But I don’t.
Remove “stuck” and I agree — we’re all at home.
That could be a book title, “We’re All at Home.” I’m pretty sure someone at this moment is typing a nonfiction, harder-to-believe-than-a-fantasy book about the way the world has changed since we’re at home.
We could all write our own chapter.
I understand cabin fever but in no way are we bored. Jim and I are retired; our house spills over with enough projects to keep us occupied for the rest of the millennium, but I don’t have that long. I don’t want to waste a single morning.
We’ve been pretty much self-isolating since New Year’s, to avoid the flu. But this isolation is different. It’s not just Jim and me. It’s all of us. Quarantined.
Our daughter Tara is posting root meanings of words related to this unique time in history. Quarantine has a stark, chilly ring, and for good reason. She writes,
“The word quarantine comes from Italian words quaranta giorni, or forty days. This refers to the amount of time ships were asked to ‘shelter in place’ for 40 days during the 14th century plague in Europe.
“Lent is a period of 40 days prior to Easter. A time for self-examination and prayer. A time we hold out to God the brokenness of our lives and world.
40 days of wilderness.
40 days of prayer.
40 days of solitude.
40 days of exile.
“Forty isn’t just a number,” she writes. “It’s a reality infused with deep spiritual meaning. Biblically, it is considered to mean ‘a really long time.’”
While my heart goes out to parents with kids going stir-crazy, I wonder if you see this quarantine (most likely extending beyond 40 days) infused with spiritual meaning … or does it just make you tired?
Do you sense the Spirit of God standing guard, equipping us to be the brave, innovative people God intends us to be? St. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, commenting on the impact of his imprisonment (Phillips Translation, adapted): it means that most of our brothers and sisters somehow take fresh heart in the Lord from the very fact that I am a prisoner for Christ’s sake.
Paul, who was essentially quarantined in a dank prison, encouraged early Christians to take fresh heart. Can we find the strength within to do the same, acknowledging we don’t know what the future holds, but we knows who is waiting there, for us?
Fresh heart empowers us to immerse ourselves in the senses of the season — snowdrops and
daffodils, song birds and rain showers, this year a season of wary hope.
Take fresh heart — as we find ways to support others suffering unbearable burdens.
Take fresh heart — trusting God will guide scientists and our leaders, if we humble ourselves and pray.
Think how we would change, from the Oval Office down, if our country saw isolation not as something to endure but as a discipline maturing us into people who are equipped with God’s Spirit to be forces for good.
Speaking of disciplines, I mentioned earlier my phone rang at noon. Actually, it was my cell alarm, reminding me to Pray Down at High Noon, a prayer effort led by Texan Terry Teykl to have people worldwide say the Lord’s Prayer in unison at noon. He says it’s the largest 21-second daily prayer movement in the world.
This prayer unites us in community, the opposite of isolation:
… give us
… lead us
… forgive us.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
All will be well.