It was March, 2020 when the world, as we knew it, was turned upside down. Coming to a screeching halt were: schools, restaurants, hair salons, churches, retail businesses. Many other businesses and scheduled events too numerous to name were also canceled. Why? The Government called it "Social Distancing" in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus that was claiming thousands upon thousands of lives around the world. Never in my lifetime have I seen the world come to a standstill with the exception of the health care providers who worded around the clock trying to save lives.
All of us were affected in some way. I was one of the blessed ones. First of all, I did not catch the virus, nor did anyone in my family. That alone merits a heartfelt praise to our Lord.
In addition, I was retired, so I did not have to adjust my work schedule, and my income kept being deposited in the bank.
Third, I was already a stay-at-home type of person who could always find something productive to do at home.
So, you might say that on a personal level, I was not affected by the pandemic to the point that I couldn't make adjustments and allowances for it as need be.
But, about the third week of the quarantine, the big L hit me--loneliness snuck up on me. Let me clarify that by saying I have never been a lonely person, nor have I faced boredom. I am thankful that I am basically a contented person, even when it is just me, myself, and I--I kind of like it that way. However, I do like to engage in activities with family and friends, and all of a sudden, all of that was taken from me.
I couldn't see my grandchildren, have lunch with friends, attend my weekly Bible study meetings, couldn't meet with our local SUM group, and assembling together at church had gone by the wayside. I said to my husband one day, "Don't be offended, but I badly need to talk to a woman." Yes, for the first time in my life, I was lonely.
Where has my feeling of contentment gone? Why is this happening to me?
And then a scripture began to dawn on me that I have read many times over the years that gave me insight as to why I was having this lonely feeling.
"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." (Proverbs 27:17 NLT).
It became clear to me that Social Distancing had robbed me of the one of the most important things God had created all of us for--RELATIONSHIP.
I knew I had to snap out of this, and pull myself up. And so it was, by telephone, emails, facebook, and hand-written cards, I began to reconnect, not only with my local friends, but also with those people I had put on hold for when I had more time. Iron began sharpening iron once again.
I also started back walking in the early morning hours-something that I had taken a sabbatical from too long ago to mention. My fellow walkers from days gone by shouted at me from six feet away, "Hey, Martha, where have you been; we have missed you."
"Oh, just a little leave of absence; and this walking is killing my legs this morning, and my heart is about to bounce out of my chest!" They laughed, but hollowed back, "You can do this! You'll get back in the swing of things!" Iron sharpening iron.
I planned menus and ordered groceries online to make special dishes that I had not taken the time to make in the past. When I went to pick the groceries up, with our mask snuggly in place and talking six feet apart, the delivery person and I chatted and cheered one another on during this trying season. Iron sharpening Iron.
Needless to say, my feelings of loneliness and mental health began to take a turn for the better. Just like a tree whose limbs cannot be unbent, no amount of Social Distancing can change the way God bent and shaped us, and that is fellowshipping and having a relationship with one another.
My dear Sumite friends, my heart goes out to those of you who lost a loved one due to the virus. May the Lord comfort you, as well as the memories you shared with your loved ones be of comfort.
But, perhaps you experienced another type of loss. In the comments, tell how you were affected during quarantine in your corner of the world, how you dealt with it and what have you learned during this season of your life.
Let's use this time to sharpen iron with one another.