As we move into a new phase of restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 I have reflected on my experiences so far.
When lockdown began, I thought that I would miss the variety and busyness of my life. So was surprised when I did not miss regular trips to the theatre or live music events, exercise classes, restaurants, or even my cancelled holidays. But I did miss family hugs!
As life slowed down, I quickly focussed on the peace and quietness, the vibrant colours of the plants in my garden and the birds visiting. I enjoyed leisurely cooking, baking, reading, long telephone conversations with friends, video calls with the family, listening to music, unhurried time for daily devotions and ‘church at home’.
On the more strenuous side I made time for gardening, clearing out cupboards, having a new kitchen fitted, spring cleaning, walks and actually using my exercise bike.
All this made me feel good, so I am going to try to cling on to spending more time at home.
Half-way through lockdown, the news and extensive television and media coverage of the killing of George Floyd a black man, by a white police officer who was not in any danger and in front of by-standers begging him to stop, brought me back to earth with a bump.
The suspension of usual activities allowed time to process what we had seen and heard, and it sparked “Black Lives Matter” protests all over the world.
This example of ongoing racial injustice in America, seen with the sharpness of HD TV, could not be denied and has now added urgency to conversations relating to race discrimination in all areas of life. On a positive note, it has resulted in many organisations and individuals in America and here in the UK looking inwardly, to question their policies, attitudes, beliefs and reactions to people who do not look, or sound like them. Bryn has also written some thoughtful articles about this in previous issues of EL.
I realise that for many, the last six months has been a time of isolation and loneliness and that some people did miss the busyness of life, particularly the social side. Some also missed the practical support and interaction of family and friends whilst restrictions were tight. Most of us also know of people who have suffered because their health appointments and hospital treatments were cancelled or postponed.
One thing that we cannot fail to recognise is the professionalism and dedication of NHS staff, emergency officers, teachers, and care workers in care homes and in the community. Also, most of us will be aware of friends, neighbours and volunteers who have stepped up to provide help and comfort to people needing support. These are good things.
So, as we move into the next six months of uncertainty, let us be hopeful for the future and thankful for our lives, our faith and our friends and loved ones.
Let us remember those we have lost, pray for those who mourn and for those who have ongoing health issues. Also, for those who have lost, or will lose their jobs or their businesses in the coming months.
Finally, let us pray for peace, love and justice in the world.