Who knew that my entire life I have been practicing social distancing? I am an introvert, which means that this being cut off from everyone in the world should be my bread and butter. However, I’ve been struggling a little emotionally. What I have come to realize is that my introversion was a learned behavior. Growing up, I was socially trained to be an introvert. I grew up in the house with my grandmother, and for a long time she and I were the only two in the house. She is a Pastor; this means that I spent periods of time in silence because I didn’t want to bother her when she was writing and researching to make sure that the information she gave to God’s people was accurate.
I made the choice to not disrupt out of respect for her intimate time with God. As a result, I would often have to find ways to entertain myself. I would go into the sanctuary of our church and imagine all the chairs filled with people who had come to see me sing and preach. When I got tired of doing that, I found myself escaping the natural world and creating imaginary realms in my head through reading. I felt comfort in those escapes. However, now as an adult during these times of quarantine, I have been struggling with the silence.
What I’ve come to realize is that in all those periods of silence, someone was always still there in the background. I was never alone. Now, this quiet that I’m experiencing is different. I spend my days with just me. I have my days where I appreciate the silence and then there are those days when the silence is overwhelmingly loud and I feel like I’m drowning in loneliness.
It was laying in my bed talking to God when I realized that I’m never alone. The Holy Spirit is always there waiting and wanting to have communion with me. As a Christian, you would think I would hold on to this revelation during times of isolation, but sometimes I forget. Today, while writing this blog, I’m reminding myself that I am not alone. I will say that this quarantine has taught me several things about myself:
- I’m not who I used to be in regards to social distancing, I actually like being around people.
- I don’t like when my routine that I’ve created for myself is abruptly changed.
- I need to be kinder to myself.
- Sometime temporary last longer than expected, but going with the flow makes it easier.
- I have to learn not to be willfully stubborn when people mean me well.
- Now is not the time to be selfish.
- I am not a nuisance to others if I reach out to create community. We all need it right now.
- Healthy friendships are possible and necessary.
- I need more hobbies.
- My dreams have changed and that’s okay.
I don’t think any of us expected for the first quarter of a new decade to start off quite like this, but I do believe it will help us to prioritize as individuals and as a nation what really matters the most. Just a friendly reminder, two things can be true: you can want to replenish yourself by being alone, but it is also equally okay to want to be around people.