Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting” is the Perfect Song During Isolation

On March 21st at 5 p.m. Illinois began its “shelter-in-place” order and will continue to enforce it until further notice. Much of the world is in a similar boat – staying at home until it’s safe to come out of our quarantine caverns.

In short: isolation is weird. I’ve found that it even changes the way I hear music. Richard Marx probably never anticipated that “Right Here Waiting” would resonate with a man isolated due to global pandemic.

I am willfully and knowingly misinterpreting this song to suit my coronavirus emotions. It’s the American way.

Let’s begin.

“Oceans apart day after day”

I am so blessed to be quarantined with my beautiful wife and two delightfully rambunctious children, but I know many aren’t that fortunate. We’re working from home and avoiding contact with all humanoid life forms for the good of society, but it feels weird to be cut off from the people you care about outside your home.

“And I slowly go insane”

At first, coronavirus was a great excuse to work from home and live in sweatpants with a matching hoodie 24/7. Not long into this isolation I started to lose a grip on time. What day is it? I’m never leaving my house and now don’t have rhythms of life that had been markers of time for me.

Cancelled church services are what I miss most. A familiar group of people gathered to hear a familiar message – Christ crucified for you. A podcast will have to do, but it isn’t the same.

“I hear your voice on the line but it doesn’t stop the pain”

As mentioned above, technology is trying to step in but I bellow along with Richard Marx, “it doesn’t stop the pain.”

I am thankful that churches are turning to broadcasting sermons through podcasts so we can still be spiritually nourished. Hearing the word of God proclaimed is powerful through any medium, but podcasts can’t replace community.

Along the same lines, lonely folks are encouraged to pick up the phone and make a call to ward off depression. I’ve had some nice chats with family and friends to stay connected but it doesn’t replace hearty handshakes and shoulder slaps (my favorite greeting rituals).

“I took for granted, all the times that I thought would last somehow”

Being told to stand at least 6 feet apart has taught me that I didn’t appreciate the kindness of a hug. The interactions that we thought nothing of pre-corona are now things I miss.

Economic stability is another blessing that the world took for granted. Amid the corona chaos, people scrambled for food and toilet paper, fighting in the aisles at stores over supplies. Having our daily bread has become more reverent at my house, because we realize we’re blessed to have it.

“I wonder how we can survive”

How long will this last?! How long can I last in this “new normal?” Going to the grocery store feels risky now. When the mailman comes we put the box into isolation and wait for the germs to die. Avoiding this superbug can become a weighty burden.

When anxiety strikes I turn to God’s word.

Matthew 6:33-34 (NIV)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

That’s the Bible’s recipe: seek God and don’t borrow trouble from an unknown future. In Christ our hope is secure; we look forward to resurrected life forever. I hit on this with my last post. Click here to check it out.

“I will be right here waiting for you”

As much as we fretter our days away and contemplate how to respond to this pandemic, we really are reduced to waiting. There’s nothing to do but wait. And wait. And probably wait some more.

I encourage you not to wait for coronavirus to end, but to wait before the Lord.

Hosea 12:6 (ESV)

So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.

Psalm 37:7 (ESV)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

May God richly bless you and preserve you during this time!

Here’s the song for your listening enjoyment. Ignore that blue dragon, I’m not sure what that’s all about.

And if you are looking for a podcast while you hunker down…check out The Sullivan Spin: https://anchor.fm/brandon-sullivan5

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