Our family had to quarantine this week. We thought we might have been exposed to COVID, because of the sickness of a close neighbor whose kids had interacted with our kids.
And, well, that’s not all. (It’s been a tough week over here.) We’re watching the headlines about schools reopening like it’s a trainwreck we can’t stop looking at, not only because it impacts our children, but also because it impacts my husband who is an educator.
I don’t know if practice makes perfect, but I can tell you that we are not used to lacking control over our own safety and livelihood, and it shows. We’ve fought about it, we’ve screamed at the screen about it, we’ve cried about it (well, I have anyway). In the worst way, I want to talk sense into people so we can see a decline of this virus. Wear a mask. Stay home. For the love of God stop posting photos of hugging people on Instagram. I hate that I can’t control what other people do, in the most desperate way.
So during our short quarantine while we await the test results for our kids (who have no symptoms), I’ve been thinking about how hard this is going to be when the weather gets cold again.
There’s a blog I have read regularly for years, and today’s post gave me some inspiration. It asked readers to submit their favorite family traditions and rituals. And there are hundreds of comments. It was so heartwarming to read everybody’s favorites—some funny (every summer having a spaghetti dinner that everyone has to eat using only their hands), some endearing (a rose from Dad every Valentines Day), some mundane but still meaningful (Friday movie night with the whole family).
We are people who make meaning through ritual and tradition. And having lost some of those rituals—especially the rituals of gathering, of bread and wine, of singing, of mourning together for those we’ve lost—can make us feel so unmoored. I, for one, need to come up with some new ones.
Today, I pulled some old candles out of a drawer. My kids light them (matches!) before our evening meal together, naming someone or something they want to remember in prayer. Friday’s coming, so I looked up a recipe for pizza dough. I set an alarm to remind me, a few times throughout the day, to take a deep breath and notice that I’m alive, that I’m here, that God is present.
Friends, what are some traditions, rituals, or habits that can anchor us in hope these days? What, during our stay-at-home life, can we do to structure our days with meaning, focus our eyes on Christ, help us practice of joy?
Let’s fill the comments with our best ideas.