I had a post typed up and ready to go about my personal journey with simplicity currently, a topic I have been really thinking about lately. The current COVID-19 crisis has affected so many people, causing drastic change in a short amount of time, the situation rapidly changing. It’s challenging for many to find our worlds completely different than they were a short two weeks ago. It has caused even more inner reflection as I search for perspective.
In general, I can get completely wrapped up in schedules and checklists, kids and activities, social media and every other distraction. Things have drastically changed with current life as we know it due to the Coronavirus and the state mandated shelter in place order. My days are anything but calm with the girls at home full-time and I find myself charting new territory figuring out how to “homeschool” my girls and assist Bernadette with therapies, I can’t help but think this really truly has given me a moment to re-evaluate.
The past week under the shelter in place order has caused me to take a step back in the midst of the overwhelm to ponder how to keep things simple during this season of unknown. I’ve been here before, not in the same circumstances by any means, but a season of unknown. Things change moment to moment and remembering the importance being anchored to the truth is of upmost importance. In a season of physical isolation, intentionality also comes to mind as a high priority. Making it a point to virtually connect with real life people as well as being intentional with my focus with the girls at home. Taking it one day at time, moment by moment, thankful for the technology I have access to. And being flexible.
There is no denying it for so many of us, life looks very different than it did a couple of short weeks ago. From kids being home who used to be at school, to people working from home or maybe even not working at all. It’s all an adjustment. Those kinds of adjustments take time. Implementing a new routine doesn’t always go smoothly from the start.
I’ve had plenty of emotions during the last week of “homeschooling” my three kids. What I find funny now is there was once a time long ago, before I had kids, I thought I would indeed homeschool them. As I started having kids, I realized I was not cut out to homeschool and out of necessity during a time in my life when I was in over my head drowning and merely trying to survive the day, I started my oldest in TK. A year later, as I was struggling to juggle therapies at home for Bernadette along with my rambunctious middle daughter, I then enrolled her in preschool a couple of days a week.
More recently, Bernadette started preschool where she now gets all of her therapies and enjoys making new friends since she is now beyond the age of early intervention. She is thriving in her new school setting, being with her peers and in a new learning environment.
Imagine her frustration when all of the sudden she’s not in her familiar environment. It’s been difficult for her to adjust to life as sheltering in place, but she is a rockstar and I know it will only be a momentary setback. It’s more important not only for our health and safety but for everyone else as well to stay home!
I will say this adjustment has amplified insecurities that I have about my own abilities as “teacher” and “therapist”. I cannot do any of this in my own strength. Perhaps I did not get a Master’s in teaching or any type of degree in Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Occupational Therapy, but I am fully confident we will make it through, just like all of you who might be reading this. Even if the immediate circumstances do not change in the present moment and I wear more hats than I usually do in the weeks ahead, I know that we are all figuring this out in together. There is so much grace for that!
I teared up this morning sitting at my computer with my middle daughter staring into the screen full of her classmates and her teacher all chatting together. The excitement was palpable and it brought such a sense of familiarity in the midst of the chaos. This isn’t the first time this class has experienced physical separation this school year. Months earlier, we endured another difficult fire season with school closures, powers shut offs and evacuations. Things that never would have crossed my mind at the start of the year. So much for little 5 year old brains to make sense of.
My daughter jumped up and down and waved to her classmates, participated in the book reading and youtube videos her teacher shared. In that moment, I was thankful for technology and the ability we have in this day and age to stay connected. How amazing that she could see her classmates, talk to them, and giggle.
I am also incredibly thankful for our church and how they have also created many opportunities to connect via Zoom already and have more planned. I don’t feel like I am navigating uncharted territory alone which is comforting.
I am human though and I also acknowledge I have had my share of ups and downs in the past weeks. I have been seeking out prayer from my community of friends knowing they are in the same boat. It has felt important to me to not simply ignore my sadness but instead name it and bring it to Jesus who is not surprised by my emotions in the least bit.
I have been encouraged in my heart to take this time to simplify, to remind myself of the truth, and to embrace the technology to keep up connections instead of seeking the path of isolation. Have grace for myself and my kids and my husband. Acknowledge my emotions and the uniqueness of the situation at hand.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”