Dear Emmaus family,

Our world and daily routine has changed significantly for all of us in just a couple of weeks. Many of us are spending significantly more hours together in our homes, others more time alone than ever. This time can feel uncertain, chaotic, isolating or overwhelming.

Mark and I have experienced greater hours together this past week in our home since I developed cold-like symptoms after returning from travel to Florida by plane for a wedding. The wedding was a wonderful celebration and was attended by people from all over the world and the U.S. including some persons who live in and traveled to some of the COVID-19 hotspots during February and March. Due to the COVID-19 virus beginning with cold-like symptoms, growing respiratory concerns and our unexpected contacts at the wedding, I was told by my clinic to quarantine for 14 days while monitoring my symptoms and treat the symptoms as possible infection due to lack of testing available except for those with greatest illness and healthcare workers. Mark, too, self quarantined even though he was well because of the same contacts and his proximity to me. Needless to say we have spent many more hours than usual together these past 10 days. We too have experienced feelings of uncertainty and isolation.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

This passage of comfort from Matthew reminds us that we are not alone in this time. Jesus is with us now and always. Jesus’ presence brings peace to our lives now as we redefine the rhythm of our days and our connections to others.

Mark and I are both now feeling well. This has not been without its ups and downs this past week plus. This weekend we found the rhythm of our routine had become stressful, unfamiliar, a bit chaotic. We needed to find some calm in our routine and our household. The article below and the tips it has for structuring your day and your connectivity has been helpful to us. Each night we spend a short time visiting on the plan for tomorrow. We certainly don’t have this new rhythm of our days all figured out, however, this brief, intentional check-in has helped bring some new structure and calm to our home.

Whether you are a family spending more time together in close proximity inside your home or someone living alone with significantly less face to face contact with others, I hope these tips from Marriage Minute from the Gottman Institute will offer some specific ways to talk with one another about how we exist together in our families, in our homes in our present days.
Redefining Rituals
“As things continue to change and shift in response to this worldwide health emergency, it presents a call for reexamining the rituals of day-to-day life.
Maybe you, your partner, or whole family is home and around each other a lot more than you’re used to. Now is the time to be intentional about what everyone needs that to look like.
In an Instagram post, Certified Gottman Therapist Elizabeth Earnshaw suggests discussing these questions around rituals:
· What can I/we expect from our day?
· How should I/we begin and end our workday?
· How can I/we rely on each other to connect?
· What does it look like to get your needs for space and privacy met?
· What does our time together look like as a family?
Having these conversations proactively means you won’t need to have them reactively after an unknown boundary was violated. And remember, social distancing doesn’t mean isolation.”
God’s peace be with you, surround you, now and always.
Pastor Susan