Will the isolation ever end? Really? The first couple of weeks we have spent adjusting to working from home, buying more groceries than ever before, and learning the true meaning of words like self-isolation and self-quarantine. Now we are asking when will it end? How do we survive the financial blow to the markets and the business shutdowns as well as the loss of jobs and income for millions of people? Lately, to stay sane, I have been playing a mental game of gratitude. Really it is not a game because I am so very grateful for so many things. I have a home, a job, food, a car, and most of all my health. And it goes without saying that I am beyond thankful for my family and friends too. With all that gratitude, why am I sometimes stuck in the emotional depths of loneliness or better yet, aloneness? Honestly, I miss the energy of people. I miss the energy of coffee shops, stores, church services, work conversations etc. I don’t mind spending time alone, but this extended period makes me crazy!
As I read through the devotion, it reminded me of my time as a chaplain in Colorado Springs. One of the gifts of chaplaincy is being with people when they are at their most vulnerable. Often, I prayed with people as they were going for surgery or undergoing a procedure. Most patients who wanted prayer felt it gave them an added assurance and comfort that they would not be alone in their time of need. Following the prayer, I would reassure them that God was with them – as close as their very breath. Once they registered what I was saying, I asked them to take a deep breath as a reminder that God was near and would remain so through their surgery or procedure.
As I have now been alone for well over a month, these words are a good reminder to ME when I get caught up in the loneliness of being without people and lose faith that this quarantine will never end. As Lucado calls it, “a downward cycle of fret.” This past weekend, I was fretting so much I threw myself a pity party! Then came Monday morning and this devotion showed up. It reminds me that I am not alone. God is with me... God is near me... God is as close as my next breath… I just need to breathe and trust that God’s Spirit is ever present within me.