How Being Single Helped Me Deal with COVID-19
What can I do with this situation? How can I make it constructive and use it to elevate myself somehow?
I am writing this from my apartment in Jerusalem on Day 1,238 of quarantine. Okay, it’s only been eight days but it sure feels that long. These are crazy times and as someone who has been single for such a long time, in a way I feel like God has prepared me for this situation and given me coping skills I wouldn’t otherwise be equipped with.
The coronavirus has made it clear to all of us that we don’t have control whatsoever over what’s going on around us. This tiny little germ has wreaked havoc on every aspect of life and we have no idea how soon things will start to get better. I’ve learned this lesson through being single over the years. We must do our due diligence – put ourselves out there, date, go on dating web sites and meet matchmakers – but ultimately God runs the world and what He ordains is what will be. All we can do, as Victor Frankl shares in his book Man’s Search for Meaning is control our attitude and response to the situations God is putting us in. No matter what is happening around us we have a choice in our response and attitude that shapes our experience.
One of my teachers taught me, “Jews don’t ask ‘Why?’ We ask, ‘What now?’” We may not know the ultimate why; we are not prophets. But asking “What now?” helps us feel empowered to engage with the situation and do something constructive with it.
Many times over the years as a single I asked myself, “What can I do with this situation? How can I make it constructive and use it to elevate myself somehow?” None of us are happy about being stuck in quarantine, the people who are getting sick, the financial effects, the limits on our lives — this is certainly not what any of us would choose for ourselves, but what can we do with this situation? How can we use it to grow? Shakespeare wrote King Lear while he was in quarantine from the Bubonic plague. Perhaps your magnum opus is waiting inside of you and this opportunity will create the situation to draw it out?
In Israel the quarantine is referred to as “bidud” or literally “isolation.” It is the root of the Hebrew word “hitbodedut” which means self-secluded meditation or being alone with God. Being single gives you a lot of time alone and it’s an opportunity to connect with God and work on that relationship. Yes, ideally I would like to be with my husband and children but God is not giving me that situation right now.
Likewise, none of us would have chosen to be quarantined and experience the effects of the coronavirus, but we can choose to respond positively to the situation, recognizing that God is right here in the midst of everything. He is taking away all the distractions from our lives and giving us an opportunity to nurture our relationship with Him. He’s putting us in isolation in order to bond with us through focused connection and conversation. Being single for so long has taught me that this is the most important relationship of my life and strengthens my ability to rely on Him.
As we continue to move day by day through this experience let’s embrace the opportunities God is giving us. Even though we don’t know when this will end, hopefully the lessons and tools you gained will have helped elevate you and your life on the other side of this test.