Some Thoughts on Riding Out A Period of Social Isolation

Many of us for some reason or another may have had required periods of “social isolation” and may have had to stay home and limit contact with others. As we approach days or weeks of more limited social contact in the face of COVID-19, I thought I would share with you some thoughts based on my own experience. I won’t reiterate the things that you already know about washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces, but here are some things that I found helpful during that forced “time out.” Rev. Judith Copeland

Please read these wise words about sequestering written by colleague, Rev. Judith Copeland.

#1—Remember that this too shall pass. Don’t go looking for that phrase in the Bible because you won’t find it there. But it’s a good bit of folk wisdom. Most of us are going to come through this just fine.

#2—Connect with others, even if that connection has to be in a modified form. Make it a point to talk to someone outside your own household every day.

#3—Keep to a schedule. Most of us claim that we would love to have some wide open, unstructured days, but then when we get them, we don’t do very well with them. They can leave us feeling uneasy and out of sorts. They say that children do best when they have routines and that goes for adults as well. Create a homebound routine for yourself.

#4—Tackle one of those projects you have been meaning to get around to. Maybe it’s something creative you’ve been meaning to start. Try one of those recipes you’ve clipped. Go through that box of photos and start labeling them. Maybe it’s a bit of housekeeping. One of the things that I hope to do is tackle my files. It’s well past time for me to let go of the student sermons I preached in the early 1980s. Think of this time as an extended snow day—and consider the time as a gift.

#5—Get outside every day, rain or shine. We are lucky that we live in an area where putting our feet on unpaved surfaces is so easy. When I had to stay at home for those three months, one of the things that saved me was the stretch of time I sat outside every day. I was too weak to take a walk, but I could sit on my deck and watch the trees move, the birds circle, and the sky change colors. Those small movements in nature reminded me that things were moving forward.

#6—Use the time to deepen your spiritual life. Build some devotional time into the routine you create for yourself. If you don’t have a prayer practice, think about starting one. Make a mental list of the people in your circle who are perhaps most vulnerable and pray for each one of them individually. You could try the lectio divina method of working with short passages of scripture that we talked about last Sunday. Here’s a link to a site that if you ignore the sales pitch and scroll down, offers some suggested passages to try. Or let us know if you would like a copy of the Upper Room devotional magazine mailed out to you. As of this writing, we have 17 copies of the March/April issue available.

#7—Practice gratitude. Even when it feels like the world is crashing down around us, try to find and name things to be grateful for. “Teach us to number my days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” the psalmist writes (Psalm 90:12). Every day is a gift–even the strange and scary days.