I don’t always post the prettiest, color-coded, aesthetically appealing photos to my social media feeds nor do I always include the deepest captions. In fact, I usually don’t have time to keep my various profiles or this military spouse blog up like I should – but, much like my every day life, I speak when I have something to say and what I do is post…is real. So let’s talk about the coronavirus, aka COVID-19.
Very rarely do people plan for something like this. You CAN’T plan for something like this. You are not in control.
Why Hello, novel coronavirus
This military family is still stationed in the United Kingdom. But last week, just before things hit the fan in the United States, my husband and I left the hum of the base chapel and the English countryside for a long-planned visit home to the US. We left excited at the prospect of seeing our families only to land at Chicago O’Hare eight hours later – to a ghost town and explosive headlines.
Now, I have a characteristic that makes me a good attorney, but may not be so great for life as a military spouse. I like to be in control. Anyone with me on that? Subsequently, I was reading (aloud, lol) anything and everything “coronavirus” I could get my hands on, in the hopes of preparing us for things to come. Little did I know how futile my efforts were. Isn’t that always the case? Meanwhile, my husband insisted he didn’t want to hear about anything else coronavirus-related (but you can bet we both had masks, hand sanitizer and gloves). I decided to relax along with him.
There were no waits at the restaurants (score), no traffic (double score)and then…the travel ban hit. The number of cases continued to increase. And as the DOD placed more stringent movement restrictions upon those affiliated with the military, we scrambled to find flights back to the UK. We hadn’t even seen our families yet.
Best Laid Plans Laid to Waste
Yes, when I found out I wouldn’t see my family – my mom, my dad, my siblings – I bawled like a baby. I bawled, after first letting loose a heart-wrenching, guttural howl from somewhere deep within me, right there in the hotel room.
I don’t know where it came from, and I’m positive I frightened our neighbors, but the sound made my usually stoic husband scramble to comfort me. It had him wrapping his arms around me and talking to my mom and promising to get me back as soon as he could. It made thirty-three year old me feel like a child. And I didn’t care. The coronavirus brought this military spouse to her knees without ever touching her physically.
Home is Where the Heart Is
I miss my family, y’all. I didn’t even realize just how much until that moment and now, as I write about it, I feel that howl building up inside me again and tears are streaming down my face. This is why – because I’m not there while they’re being advised to go on lockdown, or given curfews. One of my little brothers (well he’s in his 20s, so not so little) is basically alone in Atlanta – he moved there right after we left for my husband’s first duty station (*cringe No. 1), and I can’t be there for him. His goodbye to me was “Well, I’m glad we got to breathe the same (US) air, at least for a minute.”
I’m on an entirely different continent. I feel horrible. And while a majority of the time, I feel just fine (and know I couldn’t be with them anyway now because “social distancing”), I can’t entirely shake it. If you’re a military spouse or member, or even not, it’s very likely that in this moment you know just what I feel.
Social Distancing in Uncertain Times
Now we’re back in the UK (after a heart race inducing trek home from airport, where we tried our best not to give people the side-eye for coughing).
We’re back in what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has now declared a Level 3 country. I’m teleworking, even though the base is only seven minutes from our home. I’m also actively engaging in the oh-so important practice of social distancing.
My husband is reporting to work as usual. There are souls that still need bolstering, after all – especially now.
You are not in control. Read that again – YOU. ARE NOT. IN CONTROL. But you can turn to the One who is.
I’m an ambivert leaning towards the introvert side, save for the fact for this deep love and empathy I have for people (it’s a conundrum, I know) so I feel I’ve been preparing for this my whole life *insert laughing emoji). I don’t feel frightened. Not exactly. I’m not tripping about the state of affairs – I have God, after all – but I am being cautious. And whether you think everyone is overreacting or not, you should do the same.
As I wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week, this situation reminds me of salvation – wouldn’t you hate to have gone your entire life not believing in hell, only to find that it does exist?
So stay safe, you guys. Take precautions. Wash your hands. Don’t panic buy (read that again, too). Leave something for everyone else (especially toilet tissue). God will take care of you and you should take care of others as you can, particularly the more vulnerable. We’re living through some future generations’ history lesson. Let it be said that humanity didn’t fail the test. This novel coronavirus will not win.
What You Feel is Normal
Know though, that if you’re feeling anxious for any reason it’s perfectly okay. Feeling anxious or uncertain is reasonable when your plans are laid to waste. Very rarely do people plan for something like this. You CAN’T plan for something like this. You are not in control.
Read that again – YOU. ARE NOT. IN CONTROL. But you can turn to the One who is.
Resources for Uncertain Times
Here are some resources I use, when I don’t feel in control (like now):
- I’m reading It’s not Supposed to be this Way by Lysa Terkeurst. In it, “New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst unveils her heart amid shattering circumstances and shows readers how to live assured when life doesn’t turn out like they expected. What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful?”
- I consult the following Bible Verses. Try reading One-a-Day or use a keyword search online for verses pertinent to you:
- Jeremiah 29:11 is my all-time favorite. God has plans for you, and they are to build you up!
- 2 Timothy 1:7
- Philippians 4:6
- 1 Peter 5:7
- Matthew 6:25
- Matthew 21:21
- Romans 8:28
- Psalms 94:19
- Ecclesiastes 11:10
- Isaiah 41:10
- I’m reading a new devotional plan. Try an app like YouVersion – they have tons of great suggestions at the moment. If you’d like to complete a short devotional with me, try one of these:
- “A Journey from Worry to Confident Hope: Praying through the Lord’s Prayer” by NT Wright (7 days)
- “How to Stop Worrying” by YouVersion (4 days)
- And a longer one (10 days): “Finding Peace” by Charles F. Stanley – I had the pleasure of attending his church when I lived in Atlanta.
- I’m also working on a new project when I’m not on the clock. What new thing are you working on, or old thing are you finishing?
Be gentle with yourself. Do the best you can and know that’s good enough. It will all be over before you know it. If you’re military or a military spouse, this is everyday life. You’ll knock it out of the park. #Quarantinediaries #Coronavirus2020 #Coronavirus
I plan to post another article soon, rounding up all of the existing resources for those impacted by the coronavirus. Make sure to subscribe for updates.