I don’t know if I am going to mentally survive the isolation of quarantine. The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is skyrocketing here in Florida. I am considered at increased risk for severe illness if I get the virus because of yet another dubious gift of 2020, severe stenosis caused by a dissected carotid artery. Trust me, I wouldn’t want COVID-19 anyway, but I certainly don’t want to do anything to tip the precarious situation I am already in. So, I stay at home.
I have a lovely home which I have gone to great lengths to find perfect throw pillows for but I am sick of being here. It feels like jail, only with comfy, well-coordinated pillows. Being quarantined reminds me of the birds we had as pets when I was growing up. My friends hated to spend the night at my house because they would squawk and squeal like angry alarm clocks way before our teenage bodies were ready to wake. And, no wonder the birds were angry – they existed in a cage of monotony. Quarantining makes me feel somewhere between an inmate and a caged bird.
When it turns noon, I pretend my nightgown is really a sundress and carry on with the day’s inactivity. And to add to my disdain, I get frustrated with myself for being so whiny about having no life when the whole reason I am doing this is so that I can have life. So, I cram peanut M & M’s in my face and watch with envy as the hummingbird outside the window flutters from flower to flower in a fury of freedom. I can’t help but wonder if she knows anything about the caged bird (not the one that sings – the angsty, squalling bird that tormented tired teenagers).
I worry that God thinks I am a wimp. I worry that he is disappointed that I can’t just feel grateful that I’m safe at home and not confined to a jail cell or a birdcage in someone’s kitchen. Once again, I am reminded of how adverse I am to suffering. The whole carry-your-cross thing seems so heavy and I wonder with all of the technological advances of our time, why there isn’t an app that can carry our crosses for us? I can think of countless ways that God could justifiably condemn me for making such a big deal out of my relatively minuscule problems when he suffered so much for me. But then I remember his great mercy and unconditional love. Few of us can fathom the depths of either. Yet when I contemplate it, all my dinginess feels new. I have hope because I believe that somehow, despite all that I am and all that I am not, he loves me anyway. This is true for you too, my friend.
We are people of faith. It is an incredible gift to blessed with this belief. This year has been tough for all of us. Now isn’t the time to be hard on ourselves or our neighbors. More than ever, the world needs us to emulate the mercy that God shows each of us. That starts from within. By leaning into our faith during these difficult days, we will never be like a caged bird, regardless of our circumstances. By holding tight to even the smallest notion of God’s inexhaustible love and mercy, we can overcome any challenge. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20). Like a hungry bird, I hold tight to the seeds of my faith.
More than ever, I am grateful for my faith and this community of faith. Whether it’s isolation, or loneliness, or health issues, or something entirely different – I know the struggle with suffering is universal. Yet, so is God’s love and mercy. May you feel both today and always. ~ Lara
(P.S. – I would love to hear how you are dealing with the virus. Please share!)
Read more here: Crisis of a Wannabe Gymnast