Good morning, friends! Welcome to my studio, Bless My Soul Studios, LLC. I pray as you are reading this that you and your loved ones are well. Our country and even our world has been flung into a situation unique to this generation. Everyone in our country is affected to some extent. But the circumstances are not new to everyone. More localized pandemics and certainly just isolation are circumstances that many have faced (young mothers!) and continue to face all over the world.
First let me acknowledge now that isolation is not how the human race was meant to live. We were made for community. We were made in the image of God, and even God, in His triune state, lives in community as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When God created Adam He said it was not good for Adam to be alone, so God created Eve to be with him. You were designed for a life with other people. But don’t confuse real community with rhythms of life that mean you are around people. Being with people, getting to know them and allowing yourself to be known, is not the same as just being around people. Perhaps it takes a shock like this one, when we are not allowed to really be with people, to make us wake up and realize how much we have missed by settling for just being with people. Don’t let this “people fast” go by without learning the value of the people in your life. Resolve to be more intentional about getting to know, and allowing yourself to be known, once this season of social distancing has ended.
I have had plenty of time in my life over the past 15 years to learn about isolation and its effects. After my husband and I were married, he got his first job in Northern, Michigan. It was beautiful, the people were delightful, but the gray, cold winters were long. And, for my California born and raised husband, and admittedly even for myself, it seemed at times as though the weather was closing in on us. It was like being claustrophobic in life!
After our season in Michigan, during which our two children were born, our family moved to a small remote town in Togo, West Africa. Even though the heat of Africa was a far cry from the cold of Northern Michigan, the effects of isolation felt the same. Our lives revolved around the hospital where Eric worked. Our house sat on the same plot of land as the hospital and several other American workers homes. And, there was a wall circling all of us. Our lives remained largely inside that wall for weeks and months at a time. My primary jobs were to maintain our home and homeschool our two young children. There were times when I would go days without really leaving the vicinity of our house.
We have struggled through the painful process of learning how to live well in circumstances that are out of our control, feel isolating and even claustrophobic. Having already walked this road, our family is taking this new environment of social isolation in stride. We are pulling out the old habits and tricks that worked for us before and are applying them again. We have already plowed this field, and seen firsthand the good that can come from a season of isolation. So, I feel compelled to share with you what I learned in hopes that you too will be able to live through these unique times successfully.
Every difficult situation has on its flip side an opportunity. On one hand, you can journey through this season of isolation and be asleep to all the opportunities it provides you, your work, your family and your community. Or, on the other hand, you can can progress through this journey and take the opportunities that isolation provides. In the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium tells his young apprentice, “Life is an occasion, rise to it” -What opportunities are set before you in this unique season that you are ready to rise to?
Follow me in the coming days and I will share with you lessons I’ve learned that helped me thrive in days of isolation and perhaps can help you too.
Until tomorrow, I hope you see what God has placed in your life to bless your soul.