A time of challenge and blessing
By Tim Clark
Well, what a time this has been for all of us - a stripping away of so many things in our lives that we have taken for granted for many years.
Our jobs, our financial security, time spent with our families, friends, intimacy with loved ones, a hug, a kiss, a visit with a friend for a drink or a cup of tea and a chat.
No public gatherings, having to wait to do the shopping, a real slowing down of our lives... which is probably no bad thing.
For the sad loss of life. l have lost four friends myself. Also it is very tragic for those who, due to the restrictions, are unable to say their final farewells to friends they have known for a long time.
What this situation does for me only in a small way is to relate to the isolation of our dear brothers and sisters who because of their faith in Jesus has put them in isolation and separation from their families for many years.
For myself it has been a very challenging time for a number of reasons, but also a time of blessing too. Now I know I am not the only one going through this and I am not a special case. I would like to highlight a few things that helped me and I hope it can help others.
Self isolation: I was advised by the surgery to self isolate as I am prone to chest infections. For me that is a problem because I have to take care of my mum, which means hospital appointments, doctors appointments and I also need to shop both for her and myself.
I have done these things only when I have had to and have always taken care to social distance whenever possible and have done what is required when asked.
I have also gone for walks on occasions for exercise and recreation and have always kept my distance. I also need to do that for my mental health. Having gone through the loss of my wife just over two years ago, l know how important it is to keep on top of that.
Obviously another issue I have to come to terms with is finances and being self-employed means no work, no pay. Fortunately my mum helps out and some very generous friends help out and in mid May, hopefully, I should be getting support from HMRC.
The pluses Of lockdown
Well I think there are more pluses than minuses, although to start with it was really strange and hard to adapt to this odd thing that had happened to us all.
It was like what shall we do with all this time? Yet it soon became apparent that the amount of time we had we could use wisely or not so wisely, and I have struggled in both areas.
We could have more time in prayer and more time in reading God's word. Time to take stock on life and would we learn anything from this?
It was also a time of slowing down and taking in the wonder of creation, especially in the early morning when I was around by the church listening to the birds singing and the stillness of day.
It has also been a time of realisation that as much as we like to think we are in control, we are not, and it also goes to prove we can live on less if we have to.
It is also amazing how quickly we can adapt to situations that we find ourselves in. For me it is almost like being retired.
It has also given me time in the garden, painting the fences, mowing the lawn and generally tidying up.
I have also had time to do some jigsaws and watch something funny to keep my spirits up.
I am also very grateful for technology, which has been such a blessing and has enabled us to keep in touch with family and friends.
I have also been blessed by people dropping gifts off... food, and cards and presents when it was my birthday.
My prayer is that once we are clear of this that we can all learn from this that we need each other and that we never take what we have or each other for granted.
God bless you all.
Love it or hate it, life in lockdown due to Coronavirus looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. But how are you coping with it? Are you finding lots of things to do with your time, or are you struggling?
Here's your chance to let other people in the Team Parish know what the lockdown means to you and what you have been doing to fill your time. Perhaps you are spending more time on your garden, or perhaps you're reading some books. Perhaps you have even tried a lockdown haircut at home!
Whatever you have been doing we would like to know. If you have ever fancied trying to write something, now is the time to give it a go. We want to publish your article on the Team Parish website. It can be any length and it would be nice to include a picture, or pictures, if you can to illustrate what you have been doing. We will also be compiling a booklet, which we hope to publish once life returns to normal again, as a keepsake of what life was like for us all under the pandemic.
All you have to do to take part is email your story and picture(s) to Website Editor Phil Balding at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them on the Team Parish website.
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