Each day starts pretty much the same. I lose track of the first time I wake up, back to sleep again and again until a call or a knock at the door finally rouses me from my state of semi-consciousnesses. I wonder how much I’d sleep if no one called or no one came. I often stay in my bed for a while, I spend most of my day here.
Occasionally I stand up and look out the window, maybe even open it for a breath of fresh air. I look out onto the estate and watch as people carry home their groceries, walking in twos, occasional threes. It’s mostly brick that I can see, broken fences, a little bit of grass and maybe a few trees. Once a day I go out in to a garden, which is a privilege I know. I walk around the square of artificial grass once, maybe twice, before deciding the air is too cold and heading back inside. I’m exhausted already, I guess that’s from the virus. As tempted as I am to go back to sleep I know from years of depression that sleeping the day away isn’t going to help me. But the day stretches out before me, there’s plenty of time and so much I could be doing I’m sure, I just can’t quite find the motivation to do any of it. Large white spaces on a page with few words to fill the day.
Sometimes someone calls by, and these brief moments of human contact lift me out of these walls for a little while, but the guilt builds up as I think about how easily this virus spreads and I fight the urge to call out like a leper ‘don’t touch me, stay away’. The phone calls keep me sane, and the messages help too, but even in these I can’t help but feel the distance. I think of how human touch used to be so normal, of how we might give out hugs as though there was no limit. I remember that there was a day when there was no limit. I haven’t had a hug in two weeks, and there’s only one person I’ve hugged this year. And I know that I really don’t have things so hard.
As I fight the temptation to escape to fictional worlds, to someone else’s life on the other side of the screen, which is where I’ll spend most of the day I’m sure, I eventually pick up my Bible and with a dull weight of lethargy I open up the pages. I read of a God who, in all the isolation, all the distance and all the pain of this world, has come near. Of a loving Father who guides his children by their hands, who as we wobble, as we stagger, as we struggle, will catch us. I read of a man who reached out to the leper that knelt before him and touched him, making him clean. I read of a saviour who will hold me fast through every storm. And though it’s hard to fight the loneliness that isolation brings, I am learning to rejoice in a God who comes this close, in the truth that when all others must stand afar, there is one who draws near.