I grew up in an extravagant home on Cape Cod. When I was eleven, my family made a major change and pursued a secluded life in Maine. The adventure in the deep woods without the luxuries we were used to reformed the character of each of us. Since we had nothing and knew no one, we cultivated tight and true relationships with one another. It was then that our faith became a true and important part of our lives.
I suppose, in a way, we were self-quarantined.
It may sound strange, but this Corona craziness has been a reset button for me. Before social distancing, I was busy and distracted. My morning devotions were quick and simple. I was taking my family time for granted, seldom putting effort into home-cooked meals, or quality time –there was too much to do!
Now there’s not much else to do.
Because I’m raising an infant again, I was already working from home but now work–and the home–is a family effort. My work is easier, my devotions deeper and, with lil’ Laneigh’s cooing and crawling and her joyful “Aunt T” home from college practicing voice, we have built-in entertainment. I am content.
Yes, we are stuck at home, but we are deep in these woods together; we might as well make the best of it.
The family unit is a team.
When I was in Maine, my family made chores into friendly competitions and boredom into creative opportunities. With no electricity, simple things like running water were hard work. It helped to pretend that chores like hand-pumping our water was a workout. Of course there were times we all complained, but we had great leadership in my parents. It was simple:
- If we started fighting, we were put to work.
- If we got restless, we were put outside.
- If we couldn’t shake a bad mood, we were told a scripture.
There was one verse in particular that my dad quoted often to correct our attitudes.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:11b-13
God has blessed us as a nation. We know how to live with abundance. Yet we stress out over the thought of lack and many of us are consumed by fears right now. Perhaps it’s time we learn to live contently with what we already have–including our family.
Let’s allow the quarantine to reset us.
Busyness has made it hard to keep up with the very chaos it created. Perhaps social distancing is our opportunity to slow down, regain order, make the effort to enjoy one another again. But how do we reset our lives?
First let’s let go of worry. Yes, the concerns are real, but we can watch the pandemic and panic or we can seek peace and pursue it. It’s easier to enjoy the challenge and find a way to survive if we have an attitude of contentment.
Worry only robs us of contentment.
When we “ran out” of food in Maine, Mom would make pancakes or beans. She may have had fears or worries, but she didn’t let us kids know. Instead we saw her efforts of being creative with dry foods as an adventure, because she portrayed an attitude of confidence.
Worry only robs us of confidence.
Each time I've heard of someone worried about the lack of toilet paper, I've asked them if they needed it yet. No one has said yes. It seems that most Americans have more supplies at home than they think they do.
Worry consumes the strength we need to deal with real problems when they arise. If we are really honest, most of us have enough. We just need to be more creative with what we have and set a good example for those who are looking to us for leadership. Pancakes for dinner can be fun!
The Corona Crisis is not going to last forever, but when it is over, our kids will remember it all their lives. I want mine to recall their times of lack as a fun challenge when their family pulled together and were confidently content. How about you?
How has social distancing reset your approach to life? Do you have any inspiration for overcoming this as a family?
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