Confessions of an ambivert preparing for lockdown

As I write, Murray and the boys are setting up the stationary trainer in the lounge, so we can all emerge from this thing, recognisable. Also, I’ve never been more grateful for our garden and the friendly skies beneath which we live.

We were woken this morning by dawn-song as we always are, but I swear the birds sounded relieved that no one in our neighbourhood was rushing anywhere.

Yesterday was busy.

Murray and his partners spent the day preparing for partial shutdown of their practice. (Partial shutdown means, if you get a stick in your eye or you have some sort of unfortunate mucus situation going on, PLEASE CALL! #EssentialServices.)

I got up at 5h30 and drove to Middelburg to drop off a book order for friends at a church I love. The extrovert side of me wanted to see them because it’ll be a while before I see them again. The introvert side of me wanted three hours alone in my car to worship and see the cosmos in glorious bloom all along the N4.

I also listened to this. Rory reminded us that 80% of your body heat escapes through your head. So when you get the cold feet of fear? Put on a hat.

Already the extrovert side of me has had to take runaway thoughts captive and jam the truth-beanie of identity-and-security tightly over my ears because now I can only love and be loved through the flat cold rectangle of my phone. I don’t get to hang out with warm bodies to feel reassured that while a friend might never like anything I post on Instagram, she still likes me.

Murray has a degree in biochemistry and microbiology. He worked in a pathology lab while he studied optometry. He understands virology and exponential infection rates and the wisdom and necessity of a lockdown. He also understands about paying his staff and how that’s impossible when they’re not seeing patients. He’s wearing the calm, steely truth-helmet of resolve because our kind, generous Father is not surprised by all this, and He provides.

Next, we firmed up our COVID-19 Reyburn Lockdown Creativity Challenge which will make Renaissance Men out of our boys if they stick to their ambitious goals. The boys and I took our last-for-a-while walk to my sister Mel where we had tea and caught up, 1.5 metres apart. My sister Coral joined us and we all swapped links for virtual European museum tours and Udemy courses we might do in the next three weeks. We also swapped crazy stories about getting home from various provinces and how the fourth sister in our quartet was still making her way home from Mozambique.


Back home I had a warm-fuzzy over-the-wall chat to our neighbours Shann and Neill and we promised each other we’d have another over-the-wall chat if things got seriously lonely.

Then I left Scott practising his swing bowling and Cam learning Korean on Duolingo and I braved the shops to buy groceries for Murray’s folks who have just returned from a (cut short) trip of a lifetime to the UK and so they’re considered super-risky and couldn’t brave the shops themselves. The shops had not a single chicken and not a single egg and regardless of which came first, I do hope the chickens once again give themselves generously to our local Pick ‘n Pay in the coming weeks.

I delivered the groceries to my in-laws and Did Not Hug Them even though I badly wanted to. I thought about how God gave us arms to lift heavy stuff and all, but I’m convinced that mostly He gave us arms to wrap around other humans and the extrovert side of me misses that terribly.

Murray then took the boys for a last-for-a-while run and bike ride while I went to pick up industrial-sized bags of stoneground flour from my friend Suzanne so I can keep baking bread and we stood in her driveway and our inner introverts marvelled together at what God is already doing in us by flattening the curve of community and drawing us quietly closer to Himself.

The streets were full of last-for-a-while dog-walkers as I drove home with a boot full of flour and listened to the Money Show on 702. I heard Grant Pattison break down because Edcon has broken down too and then Bruce Whitfield broke down and the introvert side of me was glad again for alone time in my car because I had my own quiet sob as I wondered at the billions whose life trajectories will be tragically altered by this pandemic flooding the streets of our global village.

We thought we’d order last-for-a-while pizza for supper but all our favourite local spots were closed or sold out because it seems everyone else in Faerie Glen also wanted last-for-a-while pizza. So we put fish and chips in the oven and made decisions which didn’t really matter for Bear Grylls on You vs. Wild.

This morning in bed Murray and I scrolled through news. Prince Charles and Angus Buchan have both tested positive. Viruses don’t care if you’re royal or Christian-famous. Sky News had footage of New York hospitals and it all looked like a sensational medical drama on Netflix except the characters were real and not everyone was impossibly good-looking. We read about police arresting people in Joburg early this morning because they weren’t adhering to the lockdown. Except, what do homeless people do? Are they expected to just stay under their bridge? And how do we help?

Then we made coffee and a pipe burst in our kitchen and we were like, really? Day 1? And we couldn’t just drive to my brother-in-law Toby for the right fitting, because #lockdown. But we shut off the mains to stem the tide until Murray dominated that pipe like it was a weepy tear duct and the boys used all the towels to mop up the deluge and I thought how we’re among the privileged very few who have running water.

And I thought about how a swamp in the kitchen is nothing compared to another river we get to look forward to because no matter how the next months play out, Psalm 46 says –

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.

God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.

The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!

The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.

Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how He brings destruction upon the world.

He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; He burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honoured by every nation. I will be honoured throughout the world.”

The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.

. . .

Sending love, dear friends. Stay home, stay safe, and may you know the deep peace and great joy of King Jesus.

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  1. Thank you for your post! And for the victorious psalm at the end. So encouraging to hear your thankful heart which reminds me of all I am thankful for too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A wonderful message as always, poignant, uplifting, real. The arms-to-wrap-around thing has become tragically real for my sister-in-law in particular. Her husband had a massive stroke the day before lockdown. A 4 hour brain op followed and today we got the news that he is unconscious and unresponsive. All this and his wife may not visit. A lifetime of being inseparable and she can’t be with him now. This is the harsh reality for many in this season. But none of us is alone for Jesus promised, “I am with you to the end”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this thank you!
    Could you please share your stoneground flour recipe please if you don’t mind? I have an electric bread machine..
    Thank you!


  3. Hi Dalene, I’d like to chat to you regarding the inclusion of your letter “Confessions of an ambivert during lockdown,” March 27th in a writing project. Lockdown Letters is encouraging entrepreneurs and we have gained incredible momentum and stories.


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