STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE ◽ YOU
Did you dream all summer of visiting an island somewhere, vacationing far away from the rest of the world, finding some secluded spot where the virus didn’t exist, and setting up camp to forget all your troubles? I’m thinking many of us wished for such a trip and such a place! However, I don’t know of one person that found such a place, and I don’t know of anyone that actually lives on an island (the tiny kind). Secluded islands (for the most part) are for visiting…but they’re not really for living.
During these past several months, I’ve observed that many of us have felt isolated and have either enjoyed it and have shut out the rest of the world…or we’re depressed and missed all of the interaction we once had with others. For me, I’d say I felt a little of both.
I’ve come to enjoy our nightly walks, simple pleasures of being outside more, and even dealing less with people and angst that comes from rubbing shoulders with lots of people. However, I’ve also missed gathering of crowds for worship, sitting among a full theater for a new release, and hugs and handshakes and smiles and shared meals.
We’ve all definitely become more withdrawn, because we are mandated to stay away from close proximity with others, even when walking or shopping. Six feet away, we turn our heads and our feet to walk on the other side when we see a person approaching. When we roll down our windows at a drive-thru, we cannot tell whether or not the worker is smiling or frowning beneath that hot and sticky mask they have to wear ALL day long. We have to sit alone on our back porches or only with a family member or one close friend, missing and longing for more connection with those we used to see and visit with…
One reason people love to vacation on an island far away is because of the exotic experiences that can be had. From exotic drinks, to exotic excursions or safaris, we like the thrill of something a bit different and out of the norm of the crowded cities in which we live. But most of us do not take up residence on a secluded island. We only visit it for a while and return home.
Why? We were created for fellowship and connection. Even though introverts enjoy their time alone, and extroverts mingle too much, we all have this innate desire and need to connect. We need affirmation. We need the opportunities to give. In other words, we need people.
While this pandemic is still here, we have to make the choice to look beyond the mask, step outside our comfort zones, and live…not seclude…on our own little islands. And here are a few ways to do that, while we wait for normal life to resume…
We can make eye contact with those who pass by, and say, “I’m smiling! Have a good day!” instead of turning our heads.
We can make an effort to meet a friend in a park for a visit apart, while catching up and praying with them to bless them.
We can spend some of our isolation time thinking about people we miss and offering their names up to Him, in prayer.
We can analyze our own selves, by doing some deep reflection, and spend time healing at his feet in worship.
We can create beauty through writing or drawing or building or mending, while we’re alone and away.
The beauty of a faraway island is the colors, the sights, the sounds of nature that await…but many are drawn also because of the resorts that offer every amenity we can imagine. But the beauty of returning home is the memories made, the pictures taken, and the experiences had while away on the island.
We’re only visiting this isolation island right now in life, I think. Or who knows, isolation could be a way of life for a good long while. But while we’re visiting this island, let’s observe the beauty as best we can and offer that beauty to those around us in as many creative ways as we can…during this vacation from the norm.
That way, when we return, hopefully we will be rested, ready, and renewed to rub shoulders, really changed for the better and the better of our friends that now sit at our table once again.