Mandatory Vacation

Usually when me or my kids get sick and we have to refrain from participating in the normal busy routine of life I get kinda excited. It’s like a break, a rest from obligations or routines, even if I chose them, I’m forced to abstain. I relish the lack of needing to get dressed sometimes staying in our pajamas the whole day. I savor just sitting on the couch (something I never have time for in my normal days) maybe falling asleep with a hot, sticky, child sweaty from fever. I enjoy watching the house get trashed as the other kids entertain themselves without the constant reminder from me to clean up or put their whatever (toys, trash, paper) back where it goes. My meal plans crumble as everyone just grazes or gets whatever is handy from the pantry, fridge or freezer. There is no obligation to perform, no requirement to stay on top of life, no moral compulsion to ensure everyone is doing what they ought to every given moment of the day for maximum efficiency. It’s like a slovenly vacation that I don’t have to feel bad about. I’m sick, my kid is sick. It’s kinda great, providing it doesn’t get so bad we have to go to the ER.
In recent times, when my mind first reached out to taste what it would feel like to self quarantine for a few weeks I actually got a little excited. The same way as when my kid is sick. But instead of my home life falling to pieces my social life would fall to pieces. Hmmmm would that be as delightful? Turns out it kind is. As my weekly whiteboard schedule lays bare, devoid of any extracurriculars, we are resting from the busyness of life. No dinners with friends, no watching other kids, no parties, no play dates, no classes, no school days, no groups, no church volunteer. Just my family doing the slice of life that is within the four walls of this house including the backyard. We are doing more things online like one of the kids school classes just met for a couple hours yesterday. We are FaceTiming friends more to check in and see other people’s faces. I’m picking up the phone more to call for no reason but to say hi and maybe pray for each other. We are turning on the tv for short periods of the day to break up the monotony…I got a jar of MnMs for one of the kids birthdays this week and when someone asks for a little treat I say yes. Well most of the time. I’m trying not to talk about the C word now because the other day when my five year old asked in the middle of the night to sleep in our bed upon our gentle denial he asked if it was because we had the coronavirus? Oh my word! So things are a bit boring and a bit more stressful in my head but I’m trying to reframe my mind to think of this as a time of rest. A time to recoup space in my heart for Christ and his word. A time to enjoy small moments of rest a little more. A time to connect with friends in different ways and for different reasons. Time to really pray for others who are struggling with this time and other things. I feel like we have shrunk and expanded in different ways and God is using it to shake out the lies we believe, to untangle more of our knots of demand & pride, and to strengthen the armor that He has given us of faith, peace, righteousness, salvation, and spirit.


  1. Thanks for this. In many ways I’m busy as a bee but in many ways I’m as laid back as I can get. Thanks for putting it into perspective.

    • Lindi

      If we allow it to be, this could be a great opportunity to get perspective. What’s important? YEs, food and toilet paper are important. But what is most important?

      Our relationship with God, our families and others.If we have to actually choose to set aside time for friends and those we know need comfort and companionship (by phone, text, email or social media), we may let fewer opportunities pass us by. If we have more time, we won’t have the “I didn’t have time” excuse for not seeking God. If we have kids at home who are normally in school – okay, about 9 months of the year, the school has your children to teach, yes, but also to shape into society’s image. You may now have from now until next August to reinforce your values and to teach them things you haven’ t had time for.

      Our faith community and families could come out of this much stronger.

      Of course, I don’t want to downplay the dangers re: the virus or the economy, but in this, God WILL do what He always does – work all things together for our good. He’ll have an easier time if we all stop and ask, “What do you want to work together in me during this situation?”

  2. Thanks for sharing, Danielle. I will admit I love having Albert work from home and spending more time together as a family and being able to go outside and walk along a flowing wash has been a blessing. Your post also encourages to reach out more, as Lindi says above, to carve out more deliberate time instead of waiting for people to text me.

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