What I've Learned in Isolation: COVID Chronicles
Apologies for the delay in writing anything lately. I recently tested positive for COVID-19 and simply did not have it in me to write anything coherent enough to be published.
Today is October 4th, 2020. Yet another date when I was supposed to be on a plane headed towards Nepal. And....I'm still here in the USA.
You know, when I first started showing symptoms 10 days ago and self-isolated, I wasn't sure how to feel. SO many thoughts bombard your mind all at once. You realize just how careless you actually became, even though you started off as such a stickler for the rules and precautions. The list of businesses you've entered and names of people you've seen...including your grandpa in his 80s who lives in a facility you recently went to visit....it all becomes too much. You start to wonder what you've done wrong and how bad it will get....and then the "positive" test results come in to confirm your concerns.
At first, when my results came back, I wanted to write an angry post about how people should respect each other and follow the rules and wear masks and etc., etc. And while I do still believe there are some who have a blatant disregard for the lives of the people around them, I also refuse to believe that is the actual heart of my friends, family, and neighbors. The truth is, 2020 has just been overwhelming for us ALL. And we have our own interpretations of the RIGHT things to do. Pro-mask people (like myself) believe that they are loving their neighbors by limiting exposure, even if it all does turn out to be some kind of hoax. Anti-mask people believe they are loving their neighbors by fighting for freedoms of choice and maintaining a sense of liberty that feels like it is being stripped away. And I believe both groups of people really want things to get back to "normal" as soon as we can. Human interaction is vital to our health! So it's difficult to know how to best respond when that interaction becomes disrupted and limited. And when "truth" is left up to interpretation. No one knows who to believe or trust anymore!
I don't know about the rest of the world, but 2020 sure has blasted America with division and hatred and so many things that just amplify how broken we are. And I decided I don't want to be fuel for that fire. Instead, let me just tell you about my journey with the novel coronavirus.
You know, interestingly enough, the night before I scheduled my test, I had been at my pastor's house for a small gathering with some ladies from my church. (6 of us, indoors, with masks on, and distanced well). I had shared with them that I saw a trend in some of my bad habits starting to resurface. I've struggled with being a bit of a perfectionist and a control freak throughout my life, and while God has done a MIGHTY work in that area for me, I still have tendencies that like to pop up every now and then. So when I got news earlier that month that Nepal wasn't going to allow foreigners for a while...at least, not before my flight was once again rescheduled, I started looking for things I could control. Wrestling with "is this a backup plan that I am creating in case Nepal fails or is this actually something God wants me to focus on in the waiting?" One big example would be...I applied for college. During a pandemic. Right when I was supposed to leave for Nepal. Thinking I could still take classes online if I got to Nepal....but also trying to give myself something to focus on that felt productive if Nepal didn't work out. (I don't like feeling unproductive). So...being aware of this tendency within myself, I planned to take some time just to be alone with the Lord and try to refocus back on Him.
Careful what you pray for I guess! Haha. Cue quarantine! After being accepted into the two universities I applied to, I got sick. I don't recall a season in my life where I felt so fatigued and useless. Making breakfast, taking a shower, or doing laundry were all big tasks that required an insane amount of energy. (Btw... thank you to everyone who sent messages and well wishes....sorry I didn't feel up to responding half the time!) And I'm not going to lie, I spent WAY more time watching TV than I did in prayer or in my Word. But you know, as I'm sitting here reflecting today, I think God knew exactly what my soul needed. I needed to NOT be in control. To have to question everything and to have no answers. And to accept, once again, that it is not MY job to have control. It is my job to be obedient. When nothing else makes sense, go back to the last thing you remember God telling you and start from there.
I don't think the things I filled my time with were BAD things. College education, learning piano, taking Nepali lessons, house painting, job training, seeing family and friends. But I needed to re-evaluate what was ME and what was GOD. The only clarity and peace I know for sure is that God said "Go to Nepal" to me. And that hasn't been fulfilled yet.
This week in isolation, I keep thinking about the persistent widow. Her certainty and perseverance- traits I hope will also describe me one day. I aim to persevere and pray persistently. And I am starting over with my travel agent and evaluating when I might be able to actually get to Nepal. (Oh, forgot to mention that after I tested positive, I learned Nepal is finally open to tourists...after I had canceled and refunded my flights...go figure! Haha.) I will post updates as soon as I know more. According to the local Health Department, it is estimated I will continue testing positive for 5-6 week minimum and could still test positive 3 months from now, though it is less certain. With that knowledge, I am looking into flights in late November and praying for a miracle that I will test negative! (On the plus side, I'm told once symptoms are gone, I will not be contagious and will also have immunity for a few months!)
I'm going to refrain from college for now. I really do want the education eventually, but all in due time. Plus, I've never been in debt and don't want to start that journey until I am 100% sure about it. Not to mention the time commitment. I'm also going to try to protect my schedule a little bit more. I will continue taking my Nepali classes. I will continue preparing for the plans I trust God has for me. And in the waiting, I will remain as transparent and honest as possible about the journey in hopes that my life lessons encourage someone else out there too.
Enjoy the only photos I have taken during quarantine! And special thank you to my Mama for dropping off groceries and my little brother for bringing me good food! Also- for those wondering, I am feeling much better and my only symptoms now are a slight cough, loss sense of taste/smell, and some fatigue. Praising God that it is getting better every day. Thank you for your prayers and concerns!