Get a grip, America! (A mid-week link post because: pandemic.)

get a grip

If you thought last week was weird, b-b-buh-baby you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! 

I just got back from our local Aldi, the purveyor of fine German chocolates and creatively-named original brands (Winking Owl and Clancy’s, anyone?), where every last egg, container of half&half, and box of butter was gone, along with zero traces of pie crust in sight. Perhaps someone is going down in the Apocalypse with their favorite pie half eaten?

But seriously, it’s not the end, you guys. IT’S NOT THE END. If you have spent any amount of time reading the history of our nation, and of our great and terrible planet, you should be comforted by the fact that time has seen much scarier, much darker days than these. Real people lived through war, through famine, through mass exodus from slavery, through all kinds of hardship and horror. Kind of makes our situation seem like a forced vacation, right?

It’s just a suggestion–but maybe we, as a nation, should all get a grip. Yes, it is prudent to take the “social distancing” measures to heart and chill at home for a couple of weeks. Most of us work from dawn til dusk all year anyway and rarely find true rest…perhaps we can receive this time as Sabbath, a time to slow way down and consider all of the blessings that we already enjoy. I’m just over the tweets/memes/essays about how difficult this time (spent mostly at home, with our closest family and friends, in a comfortable environment with entertainment and snacks at our fingertips) is and politely offer the mute button to all that complaining.

Now, obviously there are those who cannot rest during this pandemic. For the medical professionals, the government workers, the police and national guard, and everyone else who is called to a greater level of sacrifice and commitment during national crisis, my prayers are with you. May God strengthen you with courage and perseverance until we all weather this storm together.

For the rest of us, here are a few ways to spend the time while at home:

Buy and read this book by Watchman Nee. It’s only $6 on Amazon (or you can shop local), it’s short, and it’s a great place to start for cultivating that inner life with the Lord. The last time I read it, I treated it like a devotional and read a bit every morning while journaling/praying about what was written and following along in Ephesians. It’s excellent.

Since most restaurants are closing for the time being, consider splurging on a Nespresso machine. You can get a decent coffee/espresso shot from this home brewer and it’ll make your kitchen smell like your local coffee shop (which you could also go ahead and purchase a gift card from now in order to help them pay the bills and then treat yo self later!)

More things to do while quarantined (or social distancing) at home:

  1. Take a deep breath. Look around. Are you safe? Are you comfortable? Do you see someone you love? Do you have something of beauty to enjoy? Be thankful.
  2. Be prepared, but don’t go full bunker-mode (having reserves of rice/beans/canned tuna is prudent…stockpiling six months of toilet paper is too much.)
  3. Try to maintain a sense of normalcy, especially if you have kiddos at home with you. I wonder what they will remember about this time as adults–will it be the baking experiment we tried? The series of comic books the kids worked on for hours? The sense of togetherness and enjoyment of a slower-paced homelife?
  4. Peruse this list of links from my friend Tresta full of helpful resources (including an incredible open-sourced spreadsheet of links started by Erin Hicks Moon) and be sure to enter her giveaway for The Joyful Life “Awaken” bundle. What a fun surprise that would be to receive in the mail!
  5. If you are at home with little ones like I am, you might want to check out this post.
  6. Dig into Matt’s article, “C.S. Lewis and the Coronavirus.”
  7. Go outside (without your phone!) and explore. If you live out in the country, enjoy the details of early spring just barely waking up; if you live in the city, take a new route around your neighborhood and say hello to the people hanging out on their porches.
  8. Bake this pound cake.
  9. Do your nails.
  10. Pull out all the old photo albums (or photo files on the laptop or…scroll back to the beginning of your Insta) and spend some time thinking about all of the great and hard and beautiful things you’ve been through in your life up until this point.
  11. Facetime/Marco Polo someone! I know this is like, duh, but make the effort to reach out every day. Doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but even a quick “Whatcha doing?” goes a long way.
  12. Put on Go Noodle and move your body. Even better if you have kids with ya!
  13. If you’re still working–only now from the comfort/craziness of your home–these tips might help.
  14. And if you’re feeling like you want to really learn something during this down time, Tim has a great idea.

Finally, let’s remember two things. First, this WHOLE THING has not come as a surprise to God. Now would be a good time for us to eat a bit of humble pie (yes, again with the pie, it is 9pm as I write this) as a nation and admit that we don’t *control our destinies* or whatever new age garbage is at the top of the NYT best sellers list right now. See also: James 4.

The other thing is this–we are a nation that is both unprecedentedly wealthy and generous. Both of these things matter in this moment. We need to recognize our general level of comfort (compared to the rest of the world and to the backlog of history) and quit whining; we also need to take care of each other. I know we will do the second (and I’m already seeing evidence of this in big ways and small!)–I just hope the first also arises in our hearts. It’s both: we need some humility and we need to be helpers.

Okay, that’s it for now. Get some rest, friends. ❤️

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