Finding Freedom In Confinement

Are you finding new freedom in this self-imposed confinement?

Living With Limitations

Social distancing and sheltering in place in the time of Coronavirus have created a unique situation for many of us.

For example, a friend who lives alone is now working from home. This could double the loneliness for her, but at least she can spend more time outside in her yard. And she’s finding ways to connect with friends at a distance. I’ll be seeing her face when we talk via screens this weekend.

finding freedom in confinement

I know an older couple in my neighborhood who thrive on shopping and dining out. They will suffer from cabin fever, no doubt. But the neighbors are checking up on them through calls and texts, keeping tabs without touch.

My default mode is homebody. Staying put to avoid contaminating crowds isn’t much of a hardship. Walking in the small creek behind our home is as good as going dancing for me.

However, my husband, Scott, and I have a baby grandson and a daughter and son-in-law who are expecting in June. Should we stay away from them? We adults are trying to decide if full quarantine is smarter than the less extreme social distancing we are practicing. Can we actually keep from seeing and hugging family members? Some unfortunate people are truly cut off from their families. They are choosing this for safety or because someone is sick with this invisible, insidious virus.

The new limitations and tough choices are shocking.

Sudden Seclusion

One of my greatest fears is being disconnected from my family. The horrors of history tell of those who’ve suffered in gulags and POW camps. I do not linger long with thoughts of solitary confinement. The idea of forced isolation, alone with no husband, no kids or grandchildren, makes me ask, “How would I fare; would I find a way to be free inside a cell?”

If I had access to books, I would be free to read, read, read. With pen and paper, I could write, free of distraction. But without family interactions, could I survive through meditation or cogitation? Or die a slow death in lonely rumination?

I guess I’ll never be locked up in solitary. But I’m feeling the walls closing in. What do the walls of my home offer that I haven’t grasped? From those whose worries are weightier, I ask, “Are you finding any freedom in this sudden seclusion?”

Chance for Change

finding freedom

Our limited choices, whether chosen or thrust upon us, magnify our chances for positive transformation.

Obviously, no one looks for change by putting on chains. But when we find our wrists shackled by circumstance, we naturally crane our necks for different ways to move, to live, to be. For some people, the challenge is discombobulating. For others, this season is downright earth-shattering. Yet, it’s an opportunity for all to discover freedom within our confines. Our physical, mental, and emotional health depend on our healthy response to this stress.
Here’s what I’m thinking:

I Am Finding Freedom From…

  1. Choice. Choice can be overwhelming. Like a restaurant with a ten-page menu, my lengthy to-do list is more of a menace than a blessing. Self-employed people, such as Scott and I, wake each morning to a bottomless pit of a list. Or an agonizingly blank slate. Either way, we start from scratch each day. I have been enjoying the simple menu of fewer choices.
  2. Worries. When the bigger story concerns a killer microbe, I worry less about writing perfect prose or if I should exercise more.
  3. Myself. Okay, it may be a stretch, but I am free to forget my face for a while. My body, my clothes, the pimple on my nose. Who cares? Yes, many working people are video-conferencing and Face-Timing and Insta-gramming like crazy. But lots of us can just stay in our jammies. Skip the mirror and quit the navel-gazing for a minute.

I Am Finding Freedom For…

  1. Creativity. More reading, more writing, yay!
  2. Thinking or not thinking. Quiet sitting or a slow walk are no longer a waste of time. I’ve got lots. Like today: I haven’t accomplished any tasks except trying to write these ideas about freedom. It’s rather liberating.
  3. Being Present. No outside events call to me. I’m not missing anything because nothing is happening. I am here. Now. In the moment in which I am.

Are You Finding Freedom To…

  1. Connect with your kids more? Your spouse?
  2. Let go of a busy schedule?
  3. Be thankful for what you have?
  4. Share with others who are suffering more than you?

People suffer without human interaction. This virus crisis amplifies our discomfort. The current limits on our ways of life have added countless new stresses. I suspect, though, we will unearth certain blessings in this mess. What freedoms have you come up with in confinement?

For more thoughts on health, read: 3 Creative Ways to Move Toward Emotional Health


21 thoughts on “Finding Freedom In Confinement”

  1. Love the pictures!

    I love the potential of this social distancing. My default mode is also homebody. And I have no children to factor in. However, I am unequally yoked. Where I love the time for reflection and catching up on things I keep on hold until I “have time” my husband gets cabin fever. I’m trying to find that middle ground where I can join him on socially distanced outings and yet savor my alone time. Yikes!

    Funny, my instincts are the same as yours as I take extra steps to contact those who have limited interaction with people. Cards, letters, phone calls…always checking to see if there is a practical need for supplies. I’m blessed. Easy to pay it forward!

    We will get through this…hopefully with sanity intact. Ha!

      • Thanks for publishing that fun video from you and Scott. Wonderful comic relief! I recently sent this quote to a friend: “Every time you find humor in a difficult situation, you win.” So true! Sadly, in this day and age it can be risky to offer humor because of the chips people sometimes carry around on their shoulders. But humor is a gift from God, isn’t it? Nothing brings people together like a common enemy, but the lighter side of life is much more fun. Please share more snippets from your arsenal of song material!

  2. I listened to yours and Scott’s music years ago. When I first started to follow Jesus.
    He is not silent, how it made my soul soar!
    The Coram Deo album!!
    Today the song, ” He is not silent” and “3 beautiful words” came to mind, and I just played them. I have a friend staying over. My heart and hers were lifted.
    So, I thought I would look y’all up on Google.
    And like many I have found sadness…
    What happened Christine?
    Where did the path lead to this life that you are living?
    He is not silent…

  3. It’s a whole new world. My new adult stepdaughter has a birthday coming up. Typically, my wife and I would have all her kids over for dinner. But that’s not a good idea. So we’re thinking we’ll send she and husband a nice dinner instead. Keep everyone safe and support local businesses. It’s difficult. But worth it if it saves lives.

  4. Christine,

    Thank you for posting! My wife had a birthday right at the onset of everything coming to a halt. My Teen boys and I wanted to make sure she was shown the love she deserves. (Always seeks the opportunity to go out to eat as a celebration.) Carried out from Cheesecake Factory and Gifts delivered from Amazon and Kohls! Also, our oldest is home from college, we are sad that we had to clean out his dorm room this weekend, but find peace that he is with us and not 7 hours away… God allows us to find new ways of being. He has created us to change course, and settle in with ease if we allow Him to be in control and we find Comfort in His Arms!
    Thanks also for the video of you and Scott Singing… My wife and I had our first dance together with you and Scott singing… Thank You

  5. I left the chains of the corporate world over a year ago to remodel a 3 acre lakehouse down to the studs by myself. My companions don’t say very much however but they offer great protection. I wouldn’t say I’ve been quarantined but it looks an awful lot like it. And so, I’ve not been impacted by this pandemic like many others. Just that when I am out–appreciate that I can even do that to survive, groceries etc.
    This journey of remodeling a home, the entire plumbing and electrical systems, all new insulation and drywall has been challenging in that it’s physically challenging at times and I’ve never been the most patient person, can it please be done now?
    So I’ve come to appreciate that FREEDOM to me is pleasure in the little things, being thankful for the bare minimums, which for me I’ve discovered is all I need now. When I got the hot water working, yay! Or those new outlets wired, ohcommon that’s awesome! And how can I forget the view of the water? I am blessed for my health and everything and everyone I have in my life. The only chains I should deal with now are the limitations I put on myself or at least, the tendency to… if that makes sense. Breaking Free.

    • Impressive work, Tress! Thanks for weighing in with your response to current crazy times: More freedom and gratitude make a great recipe for contentment.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing.
    We live in Nashville, TN.
    Have listened to your music since the beginning. Inspired to follow our dreams to Nashville back in 2001.
    Moved from Oregon.
    We left Nashville on Feb 4th for a cross country trip.
    Plans to visit family, friends, see some national parks, do some work related events as well.
    Somewhere in the midst of our trip this craziness began.
    We are now sheltering with family in Eureka, CA.
    It has been a great blessing.
    The Lord is working through all of this. I am thankful to slow down, enjoy family, and hear what the Lord is saying to us…so much to learn from all of this.
    Praying that when the dust settles we don’t just fall right back in to the same old routines. Hoping we can all hold on to the great lessons.
    Would be great for the whole planet to never go back to “normal”. May we embrace the good from all of this, and move forward to all He has for us…today and beyond.
    Thanks again:)

    • Yes, Carolyn, may our new normal be good and truly new! So glad you can embrace the place in which you find yourself 🙂

  7. Thank you, Christine, I enjoyed your post – especially your self-disclosure and the photos. Previously, my back yard led into a nature reserve that included a creek. I loved walking the trails into a wooded area, and seeing heron, ducks, – a large variety of birds and sometimes deers behind our house. Your comment about walking in the water “is like dancing” makes sense to me. Your poetic images and lyrics often take me to meaningful places.

  8. Hi Christine!

    I am finding freedom to — rediscover music that used to be a staple. My wife has been cleaning places that we have not touched in months (years, to be honest). I started digging through my old CDs and pulled a stack of Out of the Grey. We were fortunate enough to see you perform live several times in Champaign, Illinois back in the 1990s. I am now trying to catch up (currently listening to Julian’s music on SoundCloud). Thanks for your inspiration. I am finishing out semester teaching this week and next. When I get done, I think I will take time to walk my property here in southeastern Ohio and let God speak to me. Maybe I will get some writing done too. All the best to you and Scott.

    • Lenie, sounds like you are making the best of your situation. May you walk your property and hear God speak : ) Thanks for the kind words.


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