I am sure that we are living through a time that will one day be studied in future history lessons. The UK is now in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. We moved back in to our house on Monday. The work isn’t finished but there was enough done for it to be livable. Rob and I working are from home and Orla’s nursery is closed down. We are following Government guidelines and are only leaving our home once a day to get some exercise in the park.
It should be scary but I feel sort of cocooned from the reality of it. We are so grateful to be back home after ten weeks away, whilst the house was being re-wired. The weather is warm and sunny and I’m home, with my family and for once we have the luxury of lots of unhurried time together. It is like a sabbath rest has been thrusted upon us. It all feels like a holiday, and then I remember that it isn’t a holiday at all, and it’s all very sobering.
My days are very happy in our little family bubble, but at night I struggle to sleep. I find myself thinking of all those who are ill, or who are lonely, or who have already lost loved ones. So, I sit in the night and pray, and then morning comes and I determine to do my small part in this major crisis; which is mostly looking after my family and staying away from other people.
Oddly, it seems like I have chosen the right year for a Depth Year. Now, whether we like it or not, we have to entertain ourselves at home, using up what we have and digging deeper in to our existing relationships.
Here is how my Depth Year goals are progressing under lockdown:
- Develop my writing skills
Yeah, this has taken a back seat this last week. Between the house move and having no childcare, I am on my feet pretty much all day. By the time Orla is asleep and the dishes are washed, I’m wiped out! I think this will ease up a bit soon, as the house is slowly falling back in to order. And I might get chance to do some writing at the weekend when Rob is more available to entertain Orla.
2. Deepening my relationships
Suddenly, the scope of this goal has become very focussed. Under lockdown, we can’t really continue with our weekend meet-ups with friends. I’d like to be able to say that I am messaging and skyping people lots, but again, the reality of looking after a 4 year old 24/7, means I actually don’t have much time for exchanging messages or having long phone calls with friends. I have checked in with a few people, but we’ve basically just exchanged the headlines of how we are doing, and then it’s back to snack making and game playing.
However, there has never been a better time to appreciate and love on my husband and daughter. We’re having picnic lunches together in the garden, and sit down meals round the table in the evening. Orla and I, are side by side throughout the day. We have had to have some difficult conversations about the virus and she understands that some people have died from it, after overhearing a news report. But I hope, that when she is older her lasting memory of this time in her life was that we did lots of lovely things together as a family, and that she felt safe and loved.
3. Be grateful for what I have
Gratitude is pretty much my default setting right now. My parents took wonderful care of us these last ten weeks, when we really needed help, and now it feels so good to be back in our home. I’m grateful for the attic that works as Rob’s office, I’m grateful for our sprawling garden that’s ours to roam when we can’t go out, I’m grateful for the work that we have had done so that we have hot water and working lights. I’m also grateful for our job security and for our health. We have an awful lot to be thankful for.
Due to my excessive list making in January, I have plenty of ideas of things we can do to fight off the lockdown blues. I have a list of rainy day activities, and a list of sunny day activities. I have a list of DVDs to watch and a list of DIY projects to get on with. My low-spend ambitions are being greatly helped by the fact that all the cafes and shops are closed. On the other hand, the cost of my weekly shop has sky-rocketed, as I’m trying to stick to only leaving the house for food to once a week. So far, my meal plan is working ok, but I do wonder if I’m going to have to get creative or economical with snack time as the week goes on.
4. Back to basics with my faith
Like many people out there, I am certainly praying more. In the middle of the night when I can’t sleep for worry, I take each troublesome thought and give it to God. And even though I have no answers as to why this is happening or when it will end, I am comforted as I pray.
I’m reading the book of Daniel at the moment and I am really encouraged by that even when Daniel was removed from all the day to day rituals and customs of the Jewish nation he could still practice his faith by praying. Right now, I am untethered from all my normal ways of doing church, but like Daniel, I can still pray. Prayer is a kind of meeting that will never be shut down.
Our church has put together a buddy system where each family is partnered up with a more vulnerable member of the church to support and help with things like, picking up shopping and having catch up phone calls. It’s been really nice to still have that community feeling by being in contact with a couple of our more elderly members of the church family and seeing what I can do to help them.
When you strip Christianity back from all the extras, you are pretty much left with three great commands: Love the Lord, love one another and love your neighbour. These things are still all doable, in and out of lockdown.
The world is very weird right now. Here I have the perfect opportunity to work on my depth year goals; build up my home and family, focus on the basics, spend less, appreciate more. But I really wish that this opportunity hadn’t come in such a terrible way. I have no idea what April is going to look like, so for now, I am just going to keep on trying to take each day and make it a good one. And when all else is out of my control, I’m going to pray, pray, pray!