Yesterday, two little boys in our neighborhood came to the door asking if the kids could play. Their families had been social distancing like ours, but obviously had loosened some restrictions.
I had already been feeling like we are on an island with the choice to still maintain space from others. Seeing them only compounded the feeling of isolation I had been having lately.
My heart felt heavy.
To my friends who are still choosing to social distance right now, I want you to hear this – you are not alone.
Even if it looks like the world has opened up and people are moving forward, there are still those of us who are choosing to hold out a bit longer.
In the beginning, when we were all doing the same things, there was a feeling of togetherness.
Now, for those of us who are choosing to maintain distance and space, life can feel a little lonely.
I question myself and our decisions more frequently than I used to. We are taking baby steps and are slowly adding things back into our lives, but not much. We just aren’t there yet.
I’m not ready for sleepovers, or to have other families to dinner in our home.
I’m not ready for the kid’s friends to come inside, or for out of town guests to come and stay for the weekend.
I’m not ready to sit inside a restaurant, or even outside for that matter.
I’m not ready to peruse the local shops, or attend a church gathering.
I’m just not ready.
And I don’t know when I will be.
So, I wanted to write this today to give encouragement and hope to those who are still choosing to maintain social distance. I want you to know others are choosing the same.
I want you to know when the time is right for your family to loosen some restrictions – you need to trust that you will know.
Take the baby steps you need to take to get to where you are comfortable. Or no steps at all. This is not a race and there is no finish line. Even if it feels like the starting gun fired and everyone took off, there are plenty of us who stayed put.
I want you to know your true friends aren’t going anywhere.
They support and love you, even if they are making other choices. Just because you aren’t ready to sit inside a restaurant doesn’t mean they don’t want to see you. If you are comfortable with social distant hangouts, invite your friends to sit with you outside. It’s amazing what a couple hours sitting outdoors, or going on a walk, with a good friend can do for your psyche.
I want you to know it’s okay to not be ready.
Find the things you are comfortable with, and engage in those things. But don’t feel pressure to move forward if you aren’t comfortable. These are unprecedented times and we are all doing our best to make the choices that we need to for our unique family units.
I want you to know your kids are going to be okay.
I want to be able to send my kids out to play freely, but we aren’t there. They go on bike rides and walks, they sit out back and do chalk out front with friends, but it’s all from a distance. Yes, they miss their friends and yes, they miss normalcy – we all do; but they are doing okay. We talk a lot about how they are feeling, and give them space to share their struggles and frustrations. And if it seems like they aren’t doing okay, we will address that – but for now, they are developing deeper and stronger connections with their siblings and with my husband and I, which is definitely a pandemic silver lining.
To my friends who have relaxed their social distancing and are getting out more, please continue to give those of us who aren’t ready the grace that we need. Choosing to maintain distance can already feel isolating. Check in on your friends who are continuing to stay home and make it a point to let them know you are thinking of them – and that you support them in their choice to do what they feel is best for their family.
To my friends who are still choosing to social distance right now, I want you to hear this – you are not alone. Even if it feels like the world has moved on, please know there are still plenty of us choosing to stay home.
I have heard it said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and for myself, during this pandemic, that most certainly seems to be true. So I will try not to compare. I will continue to move forward doing what my husband and I feel is best for our family during this time. When the feeling of isolation or loneliness threatens to take hold, I will remind myself there are plenty of others who are still making the choice to maintain distance. I will turn it over to God. And take it day by day. Because regardless of what is happening in the world, I always have Him. And if that is where I am drawing my strength, then I will be okay.
To my friends who are still choosing to social distance right now, hang in there. We will come to the other side of this. And remember, regardless of how you may be feeling, or what you see when you look out your window, there are others in the same boat.