Quarantine Day 32. NYC
I’m going to be really honest. Yesterday was the first really hard day. Sure, I’ve faced the fear of contracting the virus, been stunned by the sobering sight of death, and grieved the separation from my family. But yesterday was hard for a different reason.
It was the first day where I really felt the acute sting of loneliness.
After 32 days, without a hug, without eye contact, without the physical chemistry that comes with human to human interaction, the toll of isolation finally caught up to me.
And as I fell asleep last night with silent tears stinging my cheek, I finally let down the brave facade I had been sustaining with every last ounce of myself. I finally let myself truly feel.
And the feeling I was confronted with: was loneliness.
During the first weeks, the novelty of FaceTime interactions and Zoom parties made it feel exciting. And the connections with the people I care about felt almost electric. Like we were all in a space ship before lift off — buzzing with anticipation and energy — about to brave the new frontier, all in it together.
But as the calendar days roll on, that excitement has been extinguished by new challenges, difficult realities, and the truth that isolation is a nightmare for the soul — particularly extroverts like myself.
To paint a picture, my apartment is 500 square feet, in the heart of downtown Manhattan. It’s small but cozy. But even with all the creature comforts and candles and crooning melodies played through my speakers, there is an emptiness of heart, being alone.
And, ironically, I’m not alone in this feeling. I posted a poll on my Instagram account, asking what the most challenging aspect of quarantine has been, and of the 200+ responses I received, 92% of them involved loneliness, and/or missing loved ones.
There’s a collective heaviness of heart that is running rampant through our current quarantined existence.
But this forced quiet and introspection — it’s been keenly revealing. Quarantine exposes people’s true colors – their true selves. Which has been surprising, both good and bad. I’ve been surprised by some people’s creativity; others: their humor; some: their cooking skills! Others: their innovative solutions to boredom.
But also surprising, is seeing who has reached out, and where there has been radio silence. A truth that’s loud and clear in the silence of these four quarantined walls.
And that, has been the most challenging aspect of all of this. Adding insult to the injury of loneliness.
But I think I need to remember that we’re all coping with this upended reality in the best way that we each know how. And much how everyone grieves differently, so too are we each surviving this difficult season of isolation — and that looks differently for everyone.
You see, I spent so long in my anorexia truly believing – to my innermost core – that I was a giant burden to people. It sounds ludicrous, I know. But it was the deeply held belief that led me to waste away to 78 pounds. And so I think that this current sting of loneliness is acutely reminiscent of those years in my eating disorder that I spent pushing people away, and withdrawing in isolation to be alone with my disease.
Which adds a tremendously tender layer of complexity to the already oppressive reality of quarantine.
But enough of that psychological tangent.
Waking up this morning, with the daylight and the bright, shining sun, came a new perspective on this whole situation.
Yes, quarantine has illuminated a lot of difficult truths that I can choose to dwell on, and fixate upon their disappointment. OR, I can choose to focus on another truth that has come to surface in all of this: our need to fully depend on Jesus.
Our Savior has a lot of names: Christ, Messiah, Son of God, Bread of Life, Prince of Peace, Light of the World, Lamb of God.
But this morning, I was reminded of another name: Emmanuel. Which literally translates to “God with us.”
God with us.
In this time when we’re all suffering from the crippling demon of loneliness, God is reminding us, through Jesus’ very name: Emmanuel, that He is with us.
Right now. During our moments of silent lonely tears. When we’re frightened for loved ones. When we’re faced with financial challenges, job loss, emotional exhaustion, difficult living situations, bleak and uncertain futures…God with us.
He died for us. Was risen for us. And now lives with us.
Emmanuel, console us during these destitute days of isolation and trial. Renew in our hearts the strength and peace that only You bring. And help us to surrender the burdens in our hearts, over to You, to restore our fullness of spirit, yolked with you, our loving and compassionate Emmanuel.
~Just a quick note, I want to sincerely thank everyone who has been using my Amazon link before they shop on Amazon. These are tough times, and by simply clicking on my link before you shop on Amazon, it is a completely FREE way for you to support my online ministry. So thank you so much for that.~
God bless, yall are in my prayers.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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