Coming Out of Isolation

Last weekend, our family started coming out of our socially distanced shell. Our family hasn’t done much to expose ourselves to other people. We are high risk, and we kind of closed off of any kind of group meetings. We’ve had a few social things here and there with individual families, but only outside or at a restaurant, and always masked and distanced. But, we haven’t attended church services or small groups or gatherings of any kind.

Last week (like a good portion of the country), we had super cold weather, an ice storm, followed by several inches of snow, followed by more ice then more snow, followed by colder weather. As I type this, the snow is still on the ground a week later (not normal for Kentucky) and it’s 22 degrees outside. But, the forecast is calling for a high of 47, so I know it will all be gone before the week is over.

A friend from Bible study invited us to go sledding at their house. It took me quite a long time to decide that we wanted to do it. Our boys are 12 and 14. This type of snowfall only occurs every few years in Kentucky. The next time it happens, they may be “too old” to enjoy it. We don’t have a hill like our friends do, so we made the decision to go ahead and go and enjoy ourselves.

While the kids sled down the hill over and over again, I enjoyed having some coffee and fellowship time with two other moms. I have to say, that was so welcome. I love these ladies, and even though I haven’t seen them much in the last year, it felt very normal and natural to sit in the cold driveway all bundled up and chat while our kids played like they used to.

Our kids have longed for connection as much as we have. They’re homeschooled, so they don’t even have the classroom opportunities that their peers have. We’ve signed them up for things here and there, but they’re all via computer just like ours are.

Gregg and I are so happy that we gave them the chance to play with their friends and reconnect in person. By the time we left there, they were soaking wet, freezing cold, and happier than they have been in ages.

The next day, I met up with the ladies in my Bible study group for coffee.

Inside the military community, there is a group called PWOC. It stands for “Protestant Women of the Chapel” and was founded in 1952 to help chaplains minister to the wives who had accompanied their husbands to a duty tour in Germany. For the last 70 years, it’s grown and expanded into a global organization.

When I first heard of PWOC, I imagined a church basement, hard metal chairs, stuffy women drinking bad coffee from styrofoam cups. I went the first time because Gregg wanted me to connect with women in the chapel in the Fort Knox community. I walked into the building expecting that image I just projected and instead found a big semester kick-off party with a football tailgating theme. Over 100 women were running around, dressed in football jerseys, eating traditional tailgate food, laughing, loving each other. They embraced me into their fold like no one ever has and, two weeks after moving to Fort Knox, I had a community of my people.

I had friends whom I met for coffee, lunch, breakfast. We went to each others’ houses, had coffee parties, wine parties, dinner parties, Pampered Chef and the like parties. I found lifelong friends and sisters in Christ.

Fast-forward four years. When Covid hit, we weren’t able to have the big gatherings anymore. Some groups still met in socially-distanced person, but I did not. Because of the way we distanced, I joined the classes that were online.

After a year of pretty much doing nothing social, I hesitated before going to this coffee. But, my soul longed for a connection that didn’t involve a computer screen.

I have to say, it was amazing to be in person with people again. We all stayed masked unless it was our turn to speak. We laughed, supported, prayed, loved. It fed my spirit in a way that my introverted self will deny that I needed.

I’m continuing in my prayers that the vaccines help bring about a return to normal – even if the normal has a slightly different look or feel than it used to.

Our daughter, who is an essential worker, is fully vaccinated. We found out this weekend that we can go get vaccinated at any time through the National Guard. It’s a relief to know that is finally happening. We just keep looking forward to how different life will look a year from now, even if it’s still not what it was 2 years ago.

In the meantime, stay safe and well, friends.

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