‘Let’s meet up for lunch.’
‘I’ve got two tickets for the theatre.’
‘I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone at mum’s 60th birthday celebration next month.’
We know social distancing (or self-isolating where there is actual or suspected virus) is the right course of action to slow the spread of disease, but for many like me the isolation it imposes is more than just an inconvenience, it’s terrifying. But does it have to be?
Seeing empty supermarket shelves tempts me to be mean and join the hoarders of loo rolls and hand-sanitizing gel, stuffing my own cupboards, uncaring that others may go without. But that’s not Jesus’ way. And it shouldn’t be mine.
At the very least, I can pray; pray for strength for NHS workers on the front line, my family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours, pray that this crisis will knit us together rather than divide us.
And I can act. Amazingly, God calls me to be part of his answer to isolation – it doesn’t have to be in big ways – it could be shopping, making a friendly phone call, or fetching a prescription – small acts that shine bright in the darkness.
- Create a neighbourhood WhatsApp group
- Volunteer at a Foodbank
How am I? How am I really? Not wanting to get out of bed, difficulty sleeping, constant anxiety, irritability, crying for no reason, doubting anybody cares; any of these could start me down a slippery slope to depression.
I know for sure that God loves me but I also know he placed me in a community of believers where it’s possible to bury my pride and admit when I need help. Church is not a physical building but people – you and me.
- Do something nice just for you every day
- Stimulate yourself by learning something new
At home alone, I easily become a couch potato binge-watching old movies, but I’m starting a keep fit regime, kicking off with an energising fitness app or workout video backed up with an hour or two of exercise outside whenever I can.
Team sports are obviously out, but there’s still lots of choice. Cycling, jogging or, my favourite, a long country walk where the beauty of God’s creation never fails to lift my spirits. It makes everything, even coronavirus, fall into perspective.
- Find exciting new recipes to eat healthy
- Get online for fun exercise & worship sessions with Psalms & Stretches (read more about this in the May issue of the magazine!)
Sadly, washing my hands while saying the Lord’s Prayer twice (after all, I am a Christian) and cleaning corners of the house seldom blessed with Cif cleanser, does nothing to calm the fear of the future that nags at my mind.
Caught up by panic, it’s easy for me to forget how Jesus was abandoned by the disciples and totally cut off from his Father because of our sins and that, more than anybody, he has compassion on my isolation. I read the precious words “Do not fear for I am with you” and I know how much I am loved.
I may be lonely but I am never alone.
- Read Psalms for comfort
- Use apps like Skype/Zoom so church/small groups etc can virtually meet up
Words by Clare Blake