How The Inconvenience of Quarantine can Lead to Beauty: Making deeper connections through total immersion

I spent the last two weeks living with my sister, and it was beautiful.

When I arrived, I was greeted with cheerful hugs from everyone, including my mom who had come over to visit. It had been nine months since I’d last been in her house, and nine months since I’d hugged my family. It was reminiscent of visiting grandparents, aunts, and uncles several states away. However, my sister was only six miles away, living right next door to my parents.

This is what Covid has done. It has made everything “long-distance.” From family and friends to book clubs and volunteer groups, and even church, I may as well be dialing in from the middle of nowhere.

To get to those hugs, six adults and three children had to quarantine for fourteen days, then remain in quarantine for another two weeks as we gathered together for meals and movies. And did I mention one of those children was my newborn niece? My sister had to convince the hesitant pediatrician to conduct the baby’s wellness checks via telehealth. Her husband had to get permission to extend his work-from-home paternity benefits for an entire month. And my husband had to miss in-person meetings to ensure he wouldn’t break our quarantine. Any number of little things could have shattered our plans, but the stars aligned, and we were able to get together.

Since my husband had to return to his meetings after three days, I couldn’t stay at home and still visit my family. So I decided to pack my bags, bring a folding bed, and stay a couple of nights with my sister. I was reluctant to commit to anything longer, thinking I would miss my comfortable habits at home. The thought of staying two weeks seemed almost laughable, like it was a dream-sized goal that wouldn't come to fruition. But some part of me hoped it would work out, so I brought enough clothes and medicine just in case.

After the first night at my sister’s, I knew I would stay. The thought of leaving early made my stomach ache. What did I have to get home for? (My husband was mock-offended at this question). When would I get another opportunity to snuggle with my niece or get leg-hugs from my nephews?

So, I settled into their family routine of quick-prep meals, online kindergarten, nursing schedules, TV watching, and bed times. I was filled with joy when my three- and five-year-old nephews looked at me and said, “Auntie Lisa,” and “I love you,” and “Watch this!” I marveled at the beauty of my niece’s tiny face and wide eyes as she explored her new world.

And I discovered I had more time in the day to visit on the couch or take an afternoon nap. Where was this time at home? What did I do with the hours? It felt like I’d squandered something. I’d even written in the past about my boring routine and ruts, wishing there was something different for me. Now I could see there was.

Sometimes you have to be willing to set aside your to-do lists, daily tasks, and comfortable habits so you can discover new ways of living and create deep connections with others. Pre-Covid, this may have been a beach vacation or a mountain getaway. But maybe you can find a similar beauty by immersing yourself in the lives of your family just down the road.

What kinds of inconveniences can you endure to find beauty?

How can you connect with family or friends during this time of isolation?

——

Last month’s Doorways:

  • We had one last warm, sunny day at the start of November, and I savored sitting on the back deck soaking it up.

  • I had two friends extend affirmations of my compassionate heart and the commitment that I put into my work. It filled me with joy and humility.
  • While I was at my sister’s house, my husband and I were able to chat via video calls. It warmed my heart to see him as we talked.
  • I held my niece after her bath and couldn’t help but smile at her clean baby smell.

  • We had several family dinners as we made up for lost time. I was reminded of how good it feels to share a home-cooked meal and laughter around a table.




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