For the last 10 days, I’ve been isolated in my bedroom during quarantine. It’s the first time I’ve gotten COVID-19, so quarantine has been a new experience for me. My heart dropped when I first tested positive, because it meant I had to miss preaching at Lead the Cause, Dare 2 Share’s annual evangelism-training boot camp for student leaders that was held last week in Denver. I also had to cancel a trip to meet with friends in Minnesota this weekend. But I decided on day #1 of isolation to make the most of my quarantine time.
First, a qualifier: I did not have a debilitating version of Covid. My symptoms were more like a bad cold, not a bad flu. So not all of my lessons will apply to everyone. That said, here are 10 things I learned during my Covid quarantine:
1. There’s a Lot You Can Do in a Little Space if You’re Intentional.
During my full first day in quarantine, I arranged my room into four separate sections: a work space, a sleep space, a workout space, and a pacing space. In the corner of our bedroom, there’s an old padded rocking chair that became my workspace. My daughter brought up some weights and bands for me (and left them at the door), so I could exercise in a corner of our room (which I did every day: chest/triceps one day; back/biceps the next day). Obviously I have my bed for sleeping, as well as watching television. And, finally, there is about a 15-foot-long, narrow space between the wall of my bedroom and our bathroom where I can pace, which I do for hours(?) every day while talking on the phone.
I’m so glad I took time to make these four spaces on my first day of quarantine. It gave me some semblance of organization and normalcy.
2. Life Goes on Without You.
Thank God for the powerhouse team at Dare 2 Share and the two best youth speakers in the nation, Zane Black and Jerrod Gunter. We’ve been training at Lead the Cause together for years. During a normal week, we split up the speaking sessions so that teenagers get fresh insights from a rotation of three speakers. But with me being sick, Zane and Jerrod had to do all the morning and night general and sessions. They did it so well that the impact of the week was as strong as ever. Jason Lamb, Ben Phillips, Megan Mashek, and the rest of the Dare 2 Share team played crucial roles in making this last week work “Greg-free.”
For me, this was a test, and our team passed with flying colors. If the founder of the ministry has to be there for it to work, the founder has not done his or her job well. Our team improvised, adapted, and overcame, and God did a mighty work as a result.
My prayer for Dare 2 Share is not just that it thrives, but that it continues to thrive long after I’m gone.
So far so good.
3. Prisoners Have it Way Harder Than This.
I couldn’t help but think of actual prisoners during this time. I jokingly have been calling my lovely bride “the warden” because she knocks three times on my door, three times a day with food. All we need is a slot through the door to make my prison room complete.
But, throughout this week, I seriously started considering the plight of prisoners who are in isolation every single day. There’s no escape from their cell. Sure, maybe they have yard time or exercise time or chow time outside of their cells, but they are under permanent lockdown for months, years, or life, depending on their crimes and sentences.
Regardless of what they’ve done or what they deserve, it made me think of Jesus’s words in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me. He has chosen me to tell good news to the poor. He sent me to tell prisoners that they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again. He sent me to free those who have been treated badly.”
The Gospel of Jesus must be preached to prisoners. They need the hope of true escape from the bondage of sin and the bars of hopelessness.