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  • Amanda Zwanziger

Out of Isolation While in Isolation

Even good things have come out of this COVID mess

If you would have asked me a month ago if I thought there would be silver linings coming out of this pandemic, I may have told you “possibly a few”. But not for a second would I have thought that the silver linings would be abundant. To be honest, I’m truly in shock.


Let me preface this first. I don’t share this story to minimize the seriousness of the current state of affairs. This is a true tragedy and people are suffering. There is far too much loss. Everyday people are putting their own lives at risk to save others. And people across the world are struggling, whether it be to put food on the table or finding themselves in a deep state of depression. This adversity is perhaps far greater than any of us have ever experienced.


So please know, I am NOT minimizing any of that.


It’s real. In fact, it’s real for me. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for many years, this season has gotten a hold on me. I’ve found myself trembling with fear. I’ve found myself fixated on impending doom. I’ve found myself battling my faith over fear.


But I’ve also found so much more of myself in the process. I’ve found myself at the foot of the cross everyday…being reminded that the fears that have their grip on me are not founded in truth. I’ve found myself discovering that I CAN give up trying to control what my family’s future faces…because my future and their futures have already been determined. And I’ve found this peace settled in my heart…that’s made me open enough to see all the blessings and silver linings that have come out of this.


And one thing is for certain…I know that I’m not the only one who is finding themselves abundantly blessed. I’ve heard from you. This has changed us all in so many ways.


As families…

we are breaking bread every night

we are setting our devices aside

we are finding fun activities to do together

we are coming out behind our closed doors

we are TALKING

we are LOVING EACH OTHER

we are COMING OUT OF ISOLATION, IN ISOLATION


Isolation is the greatest gift our family could have ever been given. My family is a blended family. Which means our kids go back in forth between their homes. The most time my husband and I get with our 5 teenagers (2 – 18 year olds, 3 – 16 year olds…yep you are reading that right) is 5 nights in a row, and sometimes just 2 nights. After those nights, our kids travel to their other parent for a similar stretch. The way this plays out means that my husband and I always get a reprieve. And with the craziness that raising teens brings, we have historically welcomed that break as a chance to breathe.


Fast forward to today. Due to traveling on spring break with the kids and our subsequent 14 day self-quarantine, we had all of our kids for 3 weeks straight. We’ve never had them all (as a blend) for this stretch of time…and we were slightly concerned it wasn’t going to go where.

The kids were essentially “imprisoned”. No friends…just us. A teenagers biggest nightmare of course.


What we expected was mass solitary confinements…prison riots…prison breaks. We expected that as prison wardens, we would have our hands full…and frankly we were somewhat fearful about what was in front of us. We were fearing isolation.


But instead of fear, we got a big fat blessing. Our kids came out of their rooms and ACTUALLY HUNG OUT WITH US. They wanted to play cards with us. They watched movies with us. THEY HELPED US COOK DINNER!!!


But it wasn’t just them. It was us too. We put down our phones. We engaged our kids in real heart to heart conversations. We sought different ways to bring them some happiness. We prepared meals with joy. We changed.


It was nutso. Our entire family dynamic changed. Our communication changed. Our hearts changed.


So much so, that when it came to the day that our kids had to go to their other parents…it was a day of tears and heavy hearts…for me and my husband. We’ve of course loved our kids for their lifetimes…but the love for our family was bigger than it has ever been.


So the challenge I pose to everyone has this season passes. How do we continue to come out of isolation, when we are no longer in isolation? How do we keep that connection? Without the help of prison walls?


The only answer I know is that we ALL have to try harder. To put down our phones. To engage each other in real life conversations. And to hold each other accountable for spending a little time together.


So as much as I am ready for isolation to end, I'll never forget the blessings that have come from it.

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