Basement Isolation Reflections
By Karla Duerson
When [insert certain circumstance here] then I will be happy, fulfilled, satisfied.
If only [insert certain circumstance here] then I could live meaningfully, fulfilled.
When all the kids are finally gone . . .
If only he would stop antagonizing his sister . . .
These subtle whispers can rob reality right out of in front of my nose. Life is happening right now. That’s it! Yet the zest and spice of life are illusive. The mundane quotidian lulls me. Sometimes I want to shirk responsibilities. I back away from complexities and challenges.
I work a lot. I do a lot. I think a lot. I take care of people a lot. I get tired. Sometimes I daydream about being alone. “When all the kids are finally gone . . .”
Well, now covid-19 has brought me closer to aloneness than I have been in a long time. No one is talking to me. No one is interrupting me. I have very few tasks to complete. Strange.
The strangest covid-19 symptoms are those that have robbed my senses. I cannot taste coffee! I cannot smell chocolate chip cookies. I cannot touch my children. My vision was even affected for a day.
My friend said, “Taste, smell, touch – God gave us these to enjoy life. When one or all of them go away, it really is a wake-up call to His goodness!”
Well put, my friend. This world is an explosion of God’s breathtaking artistry! Tree-lined mountain tops, a home-cooked meal, gifted flowers in a pretty vase, Wylies’s round little cheeks, and Neva’s brown silky hair, Guy’s strong growing arms. The world above in space, the world below in the sea, the world all around us on the terrain is remarkable beautiful.
How can I stay awake to that splendor? How can I ward away dullness, ingratitude and boredom? One of our very young participants on our Simple Church Zoom call suggested the end of Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Well, sitting in the bed in the basement for the fourth day in a row while listening to the hustle and bustle of the activities going on above, concerning myself about everyone’s well-being without being able to lift a finger, and longing to cuddle and comfort my people, this brought me to tears. I love it when children share.
Even more, Gavin reminded us of the next part of the letter:
“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I will learn the secret that Paul did because just like my BSF notes stated last week, “God intends hardships to draw us closer to Him, so we become more content with His presence and provisions.” So, “whether in plenty or in want,” I will learn to be content and that I “can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
I am in the basement. Topside, in the upstairs of my home, I am in plenty. Either way, I have Christ who empowers me to see, to touch, to taste, to hear, to smell His wonder-filled world, to truly live!
Read more of Karla’s writing at www.karladuerson.blogspot.com
On a lighter side, be sure to check out Gavin’s take on Black Friday:
Inside Joke – Black Friday
And for some thought-provoking apologetics, check out the CSLewisDoodle on “Good Infections”: