It’s March 2021. It’s officially one year since our church uspended worship services (as well as other ministries).

It’s early in the morning, but soon my children will get up and go to school—with masks and hand sanitizer readily available.

Their classrooms are equipped with plexiglass so that the students are shielded from each other.

My wife and I have multiple masks in our cars, too; I’m sure that you can relate to this.

With the restrictions and quarantines that have been more or less “required” or “strongly suggested” over the last year, the question, though, must be asked and answered: has the decision to restrict movement within our society cost people? Has this effort to mandate social distancing created another problem; namely, quarantine sickness, issues that present themselves in the form of emotional, psychological, and spiritual effects?

As a pastor who deals with people on a daily basis, I can assert with confidence that the quarantine has taken a toll on us as adults, on our children, on our relationships, and, of course, on our financial stability. All of these things are important to me, but, in particular, I’m concerned with the spiritual affects of quarantine sickness.

I’m grateful for a church that’s healthy and has many member who are dedicated and committed, but I would be oblivious if I didn’t

recognize the negative effect that the quarantine has had on our church attendance and involvement. Furthermore, our students are another issue

altogether.

For most adults, at least the adults whom I know, the down time caused by the quarantine has been somewhat helpful—or at least it was! They have had to do things like slow down, make dinners, and sit more often with their family members.

But young people are facing another problem entirely. While many of them would prefer to be alone (gaming, for example, was already a steady trend among our youth), this quarantine has only created a greater rift than that which existed before.

For example, in an article published by abcnews.go.com titled, “Thousands of Students Reported 'Missing' from School Systems Nationwide Amid COVID-19 Pandemic,” we’re reminded that the quarantine has had numerous negative effects on our students. Without a specific place to be at a specific time, our students are disappearing from the educational world. Sure, the online option is readily available, but what we’ve learned through this quarantine is that availability and equality are not the same thing.

It’s wonderful, for example, to have an online option for those with hardships and health issues, but this period of social distancing has created a middle ground, a sort of academic limbo, in which students who could and should attend school are instead staying home, spending more time alone, and, at least for a large number of them, watching their grades drop.

The media isn’t helping; it’s seemingly perpetuating this season. We’re reading articles with titles like, “Isolation bookshelf,” and being bombarded with messages that encourage us to stay home and watch television, messages like, “The Popular Shows to Binge-Watch During Quarantine in each State.” Netflex, Prime, Hulu, Disney+: these are all amazing apps that continually make good content available for us as viewers.

But here’s the question—is this all that we’re meant for? Are we allowing ourselves to be exploited by these “conveniences” that are proving to be little more than a way to keep us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stagnant? Is our collective mentality becoming one in which our default is “quarantine” and separation from others rather than togetherness and society?

Time will tell if quarantine sickness will be a lasting effect of this season, but the evidence seems to be trending toward the affirmative. And this isn’t a political statement. This is a statement resulting from hundreds of people who have shared with me the effects that this quarantine has had on their marriages, their families, their relationships, and their finances.

If you have found yourself leaning toward the choice of quarantine, and you aren’t in any health risk, then please reconsider the decision. Eventually, this quarantine will extract its toll, if it hasn’t already.

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