I live in Illinois, where the governor has issued a “stay at home order” and I’m getting along fine and dandy.
Blame the coronavirus.
Let me start by pointing out that despite what some in the press are reporting there is not a “shelter in place” decree. Shelter in place is what a high school does when a crazed shooter appears on campus; everyone seeks shelter and stays there until the “all clear” is given. It is what people in a chemical plant do if there is a toxic gas leak. It is what farmers in Kansas do when tornadoes appear on the horizon.
Stay at home is serious but less onerous. It means if you don’t have an essential job you stay at some. You can go for a walk or work in your yard, but you can’t visit the grandkids or hold your Friday night poker game.
Only essential business may remain open: groceries, gas stations, banks, carryout food, pharmacies.
Non-essential businesses include bowling alleys, dance clubs, bars, fashion boutiques, florists.
Schools and churches are closed and most people are working remotely from home or out of a job until we either get coronavirus under control or it runs its deadly course.
Pick up any newspaper and you will read of the psychological dangers faced by families suddenly faced with being in the same building for days and nights on end. Of course, those people who live alone can’t go out and mingle with the rest of humanity so they face a future some consider worse than coronavirus: cabin fever.
However, for some of us (me, in particular), life really hasn’t changed all that much on most days. I’ve been working from home for two decades so I’m quite accustomed to getting out of bed in the morning and walking 20 steps to my office, which is wherever my computer and phone are charging. During these 20 years, I have had just one consistent office mate, Lady Conrad, a green-cheeked conure.
Being under stay at home orders has some clear disadvantages. I can’t visit my grandchildren and they can’t come to spend the day, which they usually do once a week. I can’t go to Mass at a church. I can’t get a cup of coffee and sit in my local coffee shop.
But with all the online technology available, I can visit my grandchildren via live video, watch Mass live, and still get coffee to go and talk a walk in the park.
Through the internet, I have access to virtually every movie, television program, piece of recorded music, and book ever produced. I also have dozens of books I have obtained with high intentions of reading but that remain on the “to be read” shelf in my office – or the download file in my e-reader.
I can talk to friends on the phone, use email or texting, and I belong to an online prayer group that meets weekly through video conferencing.
In other words, as a long-time worker from home, I learned long ago how not to be isolated even if it seems I am – at least physically.
Like any human being, God never leaves me alone. He is always there for me though I have to confess the sometimes I’m not there for Him. We do talk daily through prayer. Most of my prayers are short and simple. For example, when I complete a challenging piece of work I’ll say “thanks for helping me get that done”. When my computer freezes in the midst of an especially inspiring line of writing my prayer is more like “come on, why now?”
I’m also blessed during this time of being home because my wife’s place of work is closed and she is home with me. I expect there are many people who are not thrilled about the people they are sharing space with. But in my case, I have the person I love more than anyone else in the world, my best friend, and a really fun person all wrapped into one.
I have a happy home and I’m happy to be here. Thank you, God.