Suddenly all of us had more time than we knew what to do with. The virus out there and the government rules keep us locked in our houses. After the novelty of it all was over, and we figured out how to get food and live without domestic help, the boredom started to set in.

What do we do if we cannot visit friends, go to meetings or conferences, run in the streets, eat out? We start looking for other things to do to keep our bored minds occupied. We look for something to pass the time.

Like many others, I reached for my phone and got connected. I downloaded games, podcasts, audio-books, movies. These things were fun but left me feeling more alone and disconnected.

I ran on the roof, in the garden, up and down the staircase. I skipped rope, did core workouts and lifted dumbbells. These things helped some and made me feel better (the endorphins?) but the loneliness remained. I started learning things (Punjabi), brushed off old hobbies (chess), took out my musical instruments (clarinet and recorder) and felt my mind come alive, but not my soul.

I played table tennis, soccer, mini-golf, marbles, board games, French cricket, and in so doing, connected with my family members. I had a Zoom birthday party, Zoom church services, Zoom word games and Zoom family visits. I had co-cleaning and co-cooking and co-learning. These do my soul a world of good, but can also become too much as I craved for something more.

There is one thing that meets a deeper need on a spiritual level. Prayer. It is quiet attention to Jesus. It is just to be with Him. It is to pour out my heart to Him or simply to be in his presence. Fifteen minutes of this saturates me, fills up this hole that I believe all of us have.

And then to live in his presence. To watch and walk, play and run, work and learn before Him. To keep listening for his voice, looking for his face, feeling his purposes in my living. Call it a crutch if you want to. I am not ashamed to say that I need Jesus.

Here are a few of my wife’s paintings done during the lockdown: