I don’t think I’m alone in feeling adrift while sheltering at home. I look at my phone to see the date, my calendar to be sure of where I am in the week. And since my out of the home job has dried up for now, I have nowhere pressing to go.
When we were first urged to stay home, so many things changed at once. Jobs let us know everything would be on hold indefinitely. Stores were chaotic and shopping trips had to be opportunistic, basing what we would eat on what was left on the shelves. Kids were sent home from college.
Our church suspended all activities and services, and it took a couple of weeks before they came up with a game plan to post recorded services online. Celebrate Recovery meetings at a different church were also put on hold, though they were able to get a Friday live broadcast up the first week.
Suddenly all my normal activities, all the people I’m used to spending certain days and lengths of time with, stopped.
My biggest outings have become driving across town to get samples of the new asthma inhaler I need every couple of weeks combined with a stop at a bakery we like for bread.
Exciting stuff here.
And then there’s the shopping days. We spend a couple hours making up the list.
Before this pandemic I was in our local store probably five days a week, picking up fresh meat and produce as we needed it and stocking up on staples as they were on sale.
Now we try to go at least two weeks between trips, and it’s exhausting to my blowing-in-the-wind personality to have to plot out meals and make sure I’m putting all the ingredients on the list.
Baby Girl has been doing the bulk of the shopping so far, with me running a cart full at a time home to put away, while she fills another cart.
It takes two to three hours, and we are worn out when we get home.
All my normal lifelines have disappeared.
That’s how it seemed in the beginning. All those people that I would stand and chat with throughout the store, or at the bank, or in the library. My friends at church and in our care group, the hugs and smiles and quick conversations, or the deeper ones at Bible studies and group meetings. My every Friday night Celebrate Recovery times of fellowship, teaching, and sharing.
These connections were suddenly inaccessible.
When I got over the initial shock, I realized that if I didn’t do something purposeful I would drown in all this uncertainty and change around me.
So I finally got back into something I hadn’t done for a couple of years. I started doing a Bible study with my Celebrate Recovery Bible that will have me reading the whole Bible in a year, along with slowly going back through the 12 steps and 8 principles of recovery.
I cannot tell you how much this has meant to me. When everything in the world seems like it’s spinning off into space, God’s word grounds me in his love. It has been my strongest lifeline, the thing that has given me strength to at least look like I’m unfazed by all the changes. And I’m getting insight into how I can take one day at a time and handle whatever we are faced with.
For several weeks before the pandemic I had missed my CR meetings because of other commitments, including Dear Husband’s hip replacement and my bout with pneumonia. So March 13 was going to be my first Friday back. Instead I tried to watch a live broadcast put out by the church on my laptop, but without headphones I couldn’t hear it over the other noises in the house.
So I didn’t attempt to tune in, even when they announced the broadcasts would be more organized, and they were setting up Zoom meetings for our open share groups to follow the broadcasts.
Then our little local computer store opened back up, my “b” key went haywire, and I needed to break down and buy a new laptop. And it didn’t occur to me until a week later that I could just buy myself headphones so I could “go” to CR!
We had already been watching our pastor’s sermons and designing our own worship sets with YouTube videos, but that we did as a family on the tv. For CR I really need to be able to keep the other participants safe and anonymous, and be in a room alone.
When you first stop doing something you are used to doing, you miss it at first but it can soon become easier and easier to sit it out. I was shocked to see, once I got out my calendar, that I had missed 13 weeks, a full 3 months of CR! No wonder I was getting pithy!
For those who have never been to Celebrate Recovery it’s hard to describe the benefits. But I’m going to try.
I think when I tell people that it’s a place where you can talk about whatever issues you are dealing with, there is a stereotypical idea of what that means. It includes complaining or whining, maybe looking for sympathy and wanting others to tell you how justified you are to feel the way you do.
Maybe people think it’s a place to reinvent yourself, to convince others that you really have it together, you can control your life, you just need to vent a little.
Let me tell you what it’s really like.
We all have things that bother us, things we don’t really like to take out and examine in our day-to-day lives. Things we know we need to name, examine, and figure out how to deal with them.
I have found that the sooner I can turn those things over to God, the sooner he helps me work through them. And that’s the only way he can heal me of my hurts, hang-ups and habits.
So the process of speaking out loud about those deep hurts and what they’ve led us to do to protect and defend ourselves and those we love is an important step. Saying out loud what we are struggling with takes away the power they’ve had over us, the control they’ve wielded.
It isn’t about boosting our egos, or making ourselves look good. It’s 3-5 minutes at a time to share whatever we need to speak out loud, and begin the battle to vanquish it from our lives.
And it’s a solitary thing done in the company of people who promise to keep our struggles private, to encourage us as we allow them, and to cheer us on as we meet week after week and watch each other grow stronger and more confident in our ability to let God be Lord over everything.
I’m so glad I’ve reconnected with another lifeline.
If you are struggling to get through these days, I would encourage you to seek out a Celebrate Recovery group near you by going to celebraterecovery.com. You can look for a group and call the contact to find out if they are doing online meetings. And every night of the week at 9pm(E) Celebrate Recovery national leaders are doing a half-hour live Facebook session I would encourage you to catch.
Because we all need something outside ourselves to help us get through this uncertain time. And I for one prefer to hang onto a lifeline I know will hold me safely through the storm.