it’s a little tricky

Credit: helena-lopes-PGnqT0rXWLs-unsplash

In 2014, we downsized to a townhome as new “empty nesters”. All of our children lived in other states and we wanted an easy-care, safe-to-leave-for-travel, smaller place for our new stage of life. We had an office, a guest room, and an open-concept kitchen/livingroom combo – plenty for the two of us.

Fast forward to 2020… the coronavirus has four of us living in and working from our little townhouse, often with one additional and her sweet beagle sleeping on the couch. Office desks are in the hall. The guest bedroom has converted to a recording studio. The open-concept downstairs plays tug-of-war between sleeping quarters and morning coffee-making and evening all-family TV watching interruptions. Online schooling and conference calling are desperately searching for quiet spaces and fighting battles for bandwidth.

Life has changed dramatically.

We are a family that loves each other deeply and we are known to be fairly low-maintenance when temporarily residing in locations away from home.

But this is different.

This is not a vacation or a voluntary friendly visit. Although some of us had chosen to live together before the virus crisis, now this arrangement carries the descriptor of “have to”. We have to stay inside away from others, we have to go to school and work from home, we have to do this for… no one knows how long. 

And we are all together in this place with the additional pressures of fears of the unknowns, health concerns, food and supplies challenges, separations from friends, and restrictions from the routines that give us life.

We are all adjusting in our own ways. Our personalities and preferences bump up next to each other occasionally. Ok, often. Some feel lonely. Others, claustrophobic. Some fear they will be the cause of family illness.

Plenty of feelings exist
that cannot even be identified yet.

One thing is common between us all – we are committed to get through this together -and get through it having learned and grown and hopefully come out the other end as better people for each other and our world.

Some of the things that have been helpful so far:

  • Communication – Have a “house discussion” – How are we all doing emotionally, logistically? We talked about our feelings and also how much outside interaction and inside invitations make us uncomfortable. We plan to meet like this regularly to check up on each other.
  • Conflict resolution – Name the issues. We are each very different and we respond differently to stress. We want to give grace to each other and not expect that we will all react in the same ways. We are attempting to resolve irritations and miscommunications quickly.
  • Consistency – I’ve read that regular awake and devotion/reflection times, exercise and eating routines, as much as possible, are helpful when homebound.
  • Creativity – Digital ways of working and schooling, new on-line shopping methods, new furniture arrangements, experimenting with new recipes to use what is on hand have surfaced as we considered new options.
  • Connections – Using face-visual technology to connect with friends and family doesn’t fill our social-distancing vacuum, but it helps to actually see the smiles… and the tears. We are praying for those who are serving us in health care, working essential jobs, and getting sick or desperately trying to avoid that risk.
  • Creation and Sunshine – We are getting outside as much as possible. For some of you, a short-duration open window may be all you can handle. A few deep breaths while I am there slow my heart rate and calm my soul.

I’m certain your life has changed quite a bit in the last few weeks. What is helping you manage your new reality?

14 thoughts on “it’s a little tricky

  1. Terry, Loved this very timely – especially the suggestions – we have 6 adults living in our home and 3 are working from a distance. Which we are grateful for. Like you said finding the “private space” for those things can be challenging. Our Lizzy said something along the lines of being lonely but not having a place to be alone. That’s where I especially loved the suggestion of the “house discussion”. Figuring out a new normal when life seems to be changing each day is challenging. My main goal for each day is to ask the Lord to allow me to walk in the Spirit and allow Him to help me love well the people I am actually around – it is easy for me to love at a distance. Thankful for you dear friend!

    • Oh, asking God to help us with our attitudes – so very important. And no place for the lonely to be alone – so true. Grace and peace to you and your family, my friend. Love you all lots.

  2. Hi Terry, Enjoyed your post and felt the challenges of living in tight spaces. Our minds and hearts are all over the globe–both are such different situations than we ever dreamed possible. Praying for you and your precious ones.

    • Oh, dear Marcy. We’ve been praying for our friends around the world for quite a while. I read this from Ann Voskamp this morning, “And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think: Isolation is isolated to the privileged. In many places in the world, the financially vulnerable aren’t rich with sufficient space to isolate, don’t have water at hand to wash hands, can’t shelter in place because they don’t have a place. As we get to self-isolate—let’s not isolate ourselves from the needs of those who don’t get this privilege.” I am aware that many of my “have to”s are really “get to”s. Love to you all too.

  3. We, too, are staying home but after reading about your space, I feel as if I live in a spacious palace! It’s just the two of us. I can imagine how easy it would be to get on each other’s nerves! You WILL get through it and all be better people for it, but it can be tough right now. Love you, friend, for your honesty!

  4. You’ve really got this one–not a choice anymore but a must-do. None of this was expected; none of this was asked for. I really love your suggestions–and your alliteration! Communication is a huge one–people are confused over how to connect and are fighting against the social distancing. We need to be creative. Thanks for bringing this to us in such a wonderfully concise way, my friend.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, communication has been really important for us, both learning more about each other as we interact in close quarters and also clearing misunderstandings and hurt feelings ASAP. Praying we can keep it up!

  5. Wow. That would be tough! I have a feeling you all are going to have a lot of memories from this time that you’ll talk about for the years to come. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for God’s grace to you all. Thanks for sharing what you’re doing to cop with this time. I think James and I need to incorporate some of those things.

    • It’s different, but I wouldn’t change the fact that we can go through this together. It is a different set of challenges for those who are alone. If you come up with some other helpful ideas, please pass them along! Love to all you and your family.

  6. Thanks Terry, for the timely post. At this point I wish we could be a little more crowded with our kids that live in NYC here at home.

    Blessings, Ron

    >

    • Yes – it is so very hard to have loved ones far away. We have one son living in Phoenix – we are face-timing regularly, but I’d rather he was here too – even if that made our space even smaller. Take care, friends. God’s grace to you.

What do you think? Qué piensas?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s