Here in Michigan, our “Stay At Home, Shelter in Place” ordinance was lifted – with a lot of restrictions – and next week our lives get back to even more “normal” with salons and gyms opening – with a lot of restrictions -.  We finally are getting some of our freedoms back!

Then why do I feel the tired exhaustion like I did when the quarantine began?

Yesterday, I wrote something on my calendar that is indeed happening (remember when we didn’t even know if anything was going to happen ever again?) and realized that with that event I would have something happening on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, full day Saturday and Sunday.

Just recently, I had ONE place to go (get groceries) for about a two week stretch of time.

And I started to choke up and cry.

But not happy tears.

Listen, the quarantine robbed us of a lot of things.  It gave us a good big dose of fear.  I don’t even want to get into what it took away because we are all well aware and feel it and I don’t know when we’ll recover from it all.

Although, I have full faith and hope we will, even if we do recover with a limp.  I fully believe this is going to make us stronger and better – I am just not sure how yet.  In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with God and walks away with a new name and a life long limp – and as the father of Israel.  I think we walk away from this with a new view on life and a life long limp – which will make us stronger if we let God use it. 

Quarantine gave us some really good things.  With everything stripped away, you realize real fast what things are important to you, what things you want to do, what things you really truly miss, who your friend circle truly is, what items you deem necessary (who knew I needed fancy hand soap and candles in my life so desperately?).

And now that life is getting back to “normal”, I want to scream “TIME OUT”. 

I want to rewrite what “normal” is for me.

But I am stuck in how to do that. 

So I stand in front of my calendar and cry over all the things.

Does someone else get how I am feeling?   Have you figured this next phase out?  Can you help me?

Don’t get me started on jobs, EVERY job is essential to the one who works it.  Don’t get me started on freedom, I attended a Memorial day Parade that had to be called a Protest (my first protest!) and hearing the National Anthem sang and watching our village’s dear retired Vets made me cry and hit my heart in such a powerful way I’ll never forget it and always be grateful in a way I never was before.

My husband last night was almost grouchy with me.  “What is wrong with you?” he pressed. 

“I’m just so tired,” I shrugged.   So tired.  Like the tired I was when the quarantine began and I would watch for the clock to reach 8pm so I could go to sleep.

Please hear me, I don’t want another quarantine.  I don’t want Covid to run rampant over the world. 

However, this “back into society” part is messing with my head as much but differently then the whole “six feet apart” part.

Sue Cramer wrote a blog post about this as well and, as Sue often does, helped me by giving me some great questions to consider:

What have I lost that I will miss?

What coping mechanisms did I turn to?  (all the baking! haha!)

What changes do I want to make from this day forward?

My problem is that my brain is so foggy right now I can’t seem to work through these questions. 

I am writing this to you in case you are not the only one feeling this way. 

We have been attending a local church that is not our home church.  We gather outside in our lawn chairs while looking at the farm truck that pulled in a heavy duty 5th wheel trailer that the praise band and pastor use for a stage.  It makes me cry every time we go.  There is something so powerful about sitting outdoors under the blue sky and sunshine, listening to the birds chirp, chickens squawk and having church with a bunch of people who are not my church family but are absolutely my people.

Last week after church, the day before the state began it’s reopening, a friend asked me, “Does it feel like summer is ending to you?  I mean, I know it’s just the first week of June but I just feel like that’s it, this is the end of summer and I missed it.  Do you know what I mean?”

Yes, friend, I know exactly what you are saying.

This week I ended my Joy Posts.  For every day of the quarantine I asked everyone what their joy was.  Absolutely the highlight of quarantine for me.  It fed my soul and kept me connected with others.  I ended the Joy Posts this week and when my mom called me this week to chat and check in as moms do, I started crying.  “I miss the Joy Posts!” I sniffled into the phone, “It was time to end them and I miss them so much.”

It’s time to end this quarantine, but there are things I will miss. 

Like spending the evenings home. 

Like always have that “new baby excuse” again “Hey, sorry, can’t make it. You know, quarantine and all.” 

Sitting on the front porch at night with the boys. 

Knowing when I woke up I didn’t have a place to go so I could start a project and finish it. 

The way Jake and I figured out (finally) how to have a date night by getting take out and finding cool places near home to eat – places we didn’t even know existed next to our home because we were too busy driving by them.   

But mostly, it was time with my boys.  Oh, I can’t type this without getting all choked up.  When are men aged boys hanging around home every night?  Only during quarantine.  And I soaked up that time as much as i could and tried not to loose my cool every time a wrestling match of some sort broke out. 

I am a million times over grateful I live in the little village we live in.  Sitting on the front porch watching all the families out to play or walk and chatting with others was such a gift.  A new neighbor moved in across that street when the pandemic began and that could have been terrible (all the time together with a stranger!) or wonderful and it turned out to be better than wonderful and knowing she returns to work next week makes me feel like the best vacation is ending and I’ll never see her again.  I know, am I dramatic much?

How do I still hang on to the gifts of quarantine and not get lost in the insanity that I now realize life was before all this?

How do I not have my younger two boys, who are both in high school this year, not enter the insanity they realized their lives were? 

This is where I am pouring my heart to God right now.  I mean, crying out to Him much like I did when this whole thing happened.

I am so excited to see my family and friends.  I can’t wait to worship with my church family again.  My favorite beach finally opened!  I walked INTO a coffee shop this week!  I can finally get my hair cut!  I went into a tiny little home decor/clothing store and TRIED SOMETHING ON AND BOUGHT IT!  I was so excited to wear something new I literally wore the dress out of the store and twirled my way happily through the day.  Good, good things are returning.  I am so grateful.

I truly believe we’ll keep this limp, but that greater-ness is coming.

I just need to figure out how to still hang on the the gifts I learned during this quarantine that I don’t want to loose.  Mourn the things I know will never be the same – I mean, these boys are supposed to move out, thank you, Jesus -.

With great joy there is usually some sort of great sadness. 

During quarantine, I felt our biggest enemy was fear.  I did not expect to meet the enemy of fear on the other side of quarantine.

My sadness is pretty big right now, which just means my joy is about to bloom big time.

And I need to remember that.  I think all of us suffering right now with these crazy times needs to remember that as well.

I’ll leave you with this:

The pastor at the church we are visiting had a message on Joy on Sunday.  You know how I was all about that.  It was mostly based in James, my go to Bible book.  The pastor talked about a recently departed Rep. Sam Johnson.  Now. I didn’t know a thing about Sam Johnson but he was a veteran, a previous POW, who quoted something that was written on the wall of his POW camp “ Freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die that the protected will never know. “

I am not even going to even consider myself anything like a Veteran, no where near this hero, but this line just keeps running over and over in my head. 

This quarantine really made me realize what free life looks like, and I do not want to loose that.  Ever. 

We have been marked by this with a limp – a limp that is going to make us stronger.

It’s just that right now I am lost in the trees and haven’t found the path to reach the other side yet.

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One Response to The End of Quarantine … The Search for Joy

  1. Sheri Fountain says:

    Beautifully written my dear.
    Thankful, grateful, blessed has renewed meaning and you have been part of God’s good plans to share joy and tears along the way in this pandemic. I was especially thankful for this time you have had with your sons.
    God’s goodness!
    Though the fear is real, the tired is real our faith in Christ is our anchor in the storm! Not one moment have we had to walk it alone . New adventures await !
    I love you!

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