John A. Carroll
Adjusting to Life during the Pandemic
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Our Voluntary Quarantine-Day Three
Yesterday was day three. Day three can be tough. For Mary and me, the reality of the pandemic began for us four days ago when we settled into our voluntary quarantine.
So yesterday was day three.
About midafternoon out of the blue, I got the blues. I had no energy and no motivation. There was work to do, but I just wanted to sit in my favorite chair and watch the cows grazing in my neighbor’s pasture.
Finally, I decided I had to fight the feeling. I wrote a text to a friend from church. I sent it. Nothing came back. I copied and pasted the message five more times to five more friends hitting “send” each time. I got a response. I got another response. Now I had two buddies to interact with. They asked for prayer and I wrote down their requests and promised to pray. I did pray.
After supper, we were able to facetime with one of our daughters and her family. My spirit lifted as we cooked up a gourmet Play Doh meal of waffles, eggs, green beans, and meatballs with our cute three-year-old granddaughter almost 3000 miles away.
I went to bed happier.
This morning it hit me. I needed a routine if I were going to thrive in this pandemic. Of course, I could get sick and, well… you know. But meanwhile, a lot of my sense of wellbeing depends on developing a daily routine that keeps me productive but not frantic. Happy but not self-indulgent.
Today is day four. Here is what I jotted in my journal this morning. “My daily routine needs to include activities that are necessary for maintenance, for productivity, and for fun.” I wrote down some activities for each of the three categories.
Maintenance. This includes sleep, exercise, healthy eating, good grooming and personal devotions. While I can’t go to my office at church, I also should not let myself go to seed with undisciplined bedtimes and wake up times, endless screen time, laying around all day in my pajamas. On day four, we hiked on our favorite mountain trail only a five-minute drive from our house. Mary is so good about having good meals at regular times each day. I already have a plan for my devotional time which includes Bible reading, prayer and time to reflect. Mary and I also are fairly consistent in our prayer and Bible reading together at breakfast time.
Productivity. For me right now this is still taking shape. I work with pastor Charlie and other elders in planning how we are going to keep connected with the members of our congregation while our church cannot meet corporately. Today I worked on plans for worship liturgies to be recommended for family worship over the next four weeks. I also had a good conversation with one of the men I texted yesterday. We even prayed together on the phone. This blog post is also part of what I consider productive.
Fun. Maybe you would put hiking and other exercise in this category. Sorry. Not me. This week, I have rediscovered the joy of reading for fun. Most of my reading is for teaching, writing or preaching. It is not light but, of course, it is profitable. I’m talking about getting lost in a page turner–sometimes fiction, sometimes a well-written biography or history book (David McCullough is one of my favorite authors). I found a copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s memoir Wait Till Next Year on the book table at Goodwill. She is about my age and grew up near my boyhood home in New York. I can’t put it down.
I’m sure you will have your own activities to add to these lists. For me, day three is over. Day four has gone much better. I am settling into a routine. It will probably get upset, but at least I am on the way to life in a pandemic. How about you?