This is my second stint quarantining since becoming a missionary. God, why this time? Is there even a reason? The answer is a resounding YES! Because, bottom line, God has a plan for my life, and the detours such as quarantine are a part of it!
So what is the lesson for this quarantine? Each time I have quarantined there has been a different lesson. In December, it was learning that I needed to grow in reliance on God and to break free from some of the things holding me back from praying like wasting my time and especially too much screen time.
This time, however, the circumstances are quite different. Since most of my household was exposed, we have been able to quarantine together, more like the original lockdown. And being with other people has given me a very different perspective on quarantining and taught me another valuable lesson: learning to be interruptible.
In her book The Lost Art of Sacrifice, Vicky Burbach quotes C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, in which a senior devil is training a younger one. The advice given is chilling in its accuracy in terms of how I, how we, often view our time:
“Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury.... Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him [the person being tempted] into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. They [unexpected guests] anger him because he regards his time as his own and feel that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours.”
I am not unlike the person being tempted in the quote above. I like to be spontaneous, but on my own terms. I schedule out appointments, meetings with others, and sometimes still feel like they are interrupting “my” day, and that I should be in control, doing (or not doing) what seems best or most appealing to me with my time. But that is not what I am called to. That’s not the loving option. And so this quarantine, the lesson I am learning has to do with paying attention to others and their needs. From taking a break to help a student with homework, to praying a rosary with a roommate before bed instead of going right to sleep. . . from helping a roommate pump up her bike tires (literally right now!!) to letting the noise of a full house interrupt my thoughts from time to time, this quarantine is about learning to trust God, to be a steward of my time, using it well, but also being available to those around me. Because it is in these little moments of interruption that I am called to remember that loving God consists also in loving those around me, through everyday little moments like these.
Fellow missionary Mari, and me in our "home office" during quarantine.
Hi folks! My name is Teresa Wolfe and I am a first year missionary at the UW-Milwaukee Newman Center. I enjoy cooking, singing, and sharing Jesus and His message of unconditional love with the students and young adults I encounter in community.