Today I thought I’d take some time to reflect on some of the impacts of lockdown. It’s been a challenging time for most, an almost impossible time for some, a life-changing experience for many, and also a time of self-assessment, reprioritisation and growth.
I’m normally a very organised person who likes everything planned in advance and every day finely structured. I very quickly learned that in a world where the rules & risks were changing on a daily basis, I needed to be a lot more flexible. I needed to be prepared for the unexpected. As lockdown rules were applied, my daily routines became limited and restricting. I needed to find a new routine and rhythm to my day.
There have been times when tensions within the household have been above the flood level, bursting over the banks and requiring all the qualities of the rescue services. The requirements for grace and patience from the whole family have suddenly leapt to a new level.
It has been necessary for me to revisit a number of school subjects and relearn aspects of maths, english, science and history, in order to attempt to provide that very much needed support for homeworking. This has been a real test and, I have to admit, I have been sadly lacking in some subjects but pleasantly surprised in others! As a parent, the support has not just been limited to academia but also required a strong focus on well-being. Trying to find the right balance between maintaining a certain level of learning whilst finding other fun and relaxing activities has been a challenge, especially when there is a teenager involved! I have great admiration for those families who support a number of children, all with very different needs, whilst having to work from home and meet all the other demands placed upon them. For some, this mountain would have seemed unmoveable at times, but we now find ourselves coming down the other side as some schools have re-opened and the summer break appears on the horizon. That’s not to say we won’t have a new mountain in September when the summer holidays come to an end but life will always bring new challenges and, at least for now, we get a breather.
It's also been a time for catching up on those much-needed repair jobs and renovations. Fortunately, nothing major in our house but I’m very relieved not to have to use the plunger for the kitchen sink on a regular basis now that the pipes have all been replaced. We also have a very happy cat who has been keeping his legs crossed for the past two years waiting for his cat flap to be installed!! Sometimes we need circumstances to force us to make changes.
Where some have found themselves with an abundance of time, others have struggled with juggling the increasing demands upon their time with barely a moment for themselves. For others, it has been a time of loneliness and seclusion. Even the people who are usually quite content to work independently find they are craving the company of others.
Over the past months, the words of an old Salvation Army song have continually echoed in my mind:
Man walks alone, amidst uncertainty
Only one thing can still make him strong
In the pain, in the doubt, in the loneliness,
In the struggle of right against wrong,
Somewhere amidst the confusion
There will be hope
There will be love
There will be God
In the chaos and confusion that surrounds us, the one thing that remains constant is God. When we find Him, we have something to build on. We have an inner strength that gives us the courage to go on and we have something something solid on which to stand. We have hope.
"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."