Ever watch a movie where the storyline includes a prison? Inside the walls of prison sounds terrible to me. But if you are an inmate and do something that violates the rules, there is a type of imprisonment within the prison, solitary confinement. There is a reason it is worse: no sensory input, no sun, no people, and zero freedom.

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 NIV

I am not at all comparing Social Distancing to prison. But the impact can be somewhat similar. Our society has a hard time with losing freedom. We do not do well with being told that someone else controls our movement. Even when we know it is in our best interest, it can be hard to accept.

I think there are a couple of explanations for that. Primarily I believe it is because our lives are filled with so many things that when our typical pursuits are removed, we do not know what to do. Silence can be deafening, and we usually avoid it: radios, television, music in all forms, conversations, and just pace. We live fast from the time we get up until we hit the sack at night. If anything interrupts our already busy routine, we can kind of freak out. Even the church says we should have “quiet time.” They don’t call it noisy time for a reason.

When I want to make sure my kids are listening, I want them to sit still and at least look like they are paying attention. With Aly, the window used to be very short. If we wanted to make any point or turn anything into a teachable moment, we had around 30 seconds or less to do it. Any longer than that and you could see the look on her face change. We knew we might as well stop talking. Korbin is an absolute joy when it comes to listening. I have seen him purposefully go into what we call the “autism stare” if he is done listening. It is kind of creepy. Lecture over.

So, what is my point? Simply this. If all of the usual busyness and noise is removed, do you think it reveals an opportunity? I can take advantage of the time off of work, get my hands dirty in my yard. Having my fingers in grass and dirt helps me quite a bit. Talk to my wife more and listen to my wife more. Same with my kids. Heck, I can listen to God more. That seems like a good outcome. Too often, when we are forced to decide or do something that we previously were already doing, we start thinking we are prisoners. We are not. People who never leave the house suddenly see staying in their own home as a punishment. Maybe God just cleared your calendar so you can rest in a quiet place.

Take the opportunity to explore new ways to connect to people and God. Talk on the phone instead of texting. Texting gives information but is a horrible means of communication. I have seen people sit in circles with 10 feet around each person but connected just the same. We need people. Reach out to someone. If it is you struggling, you might help yourself. If it is someone else struggling, you might help them.

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