Well this has been quite a week hasn’t it?
I am not sure what I feel – I swing from being absolutely fine to being consumed by anxiety to being totally terrified. I can’t actually get my head round what is happening. It is the craziest of times.
And I think one of the craziest things about is that normally when you are going through a tough time it is normally just you or your people, it is your journey to walk and those times are often unique to you. But this is everyone! Our whole city, nation and world – there is no-one who isn’t impacted. Now that blows my mind.
We all have our fears and struggles in this midst of this.
For me they are having to leave my mum and uncle alone in their own homes for goodness knows how long, not being able to be physically present with my Irish one and worrying what this will look like work wise and financially.
Again I think all our fears at this time run along similar lines.
My close friend has been in hospital nearly a week fighting this crappy virus, and his wonderful wife is in isolation. I have friends who are self-employed whose work is slowing right down and who are exhausted with worry. It is heart breaking.
None of us know what this will look like the other side.
I have had a few sleepless nights this week and so I have turned to prayer because actually for me in times like this I absolutely do not know how else to respond and each time I do that the fears subside and a new perspective comes.
What if family relationships are deeper, healed and changed? I have never spoken to my mum so much as I have done in the last few days. We are probably going to have a little bit more time on our hands than normal – time to connect in a different way. Last night my daughter read to her 18 month and 4 year old cousins, us in Sheffield, them in London, with Granny joining in from another part of Sheffield. We are still a family.
What if this forges friendships that are so much stronger than they ever were before? I lay in bed yesterday morning talking to three sets of friends all of us still in bed but it was nice to start the day with them, to see their faces, and in fact we ended the day again, a day that had felt quite stressful, with different friends sharing different struggles, talking and praying. Thank you God for technology. My friend in isolation, not able to be able to see her sick husband, has said she has been overwhelmed at the messages, the care packages, and the love. I had a twenty minute conversation with her through the window, another friend prayed with her through the letter box. New and different ways of doing friendship but what if they create something more beautiful that we could have ever asked or hoped for.
What if we let this take our marriages and relationships to a deeper place? I had a virtual date on Friday night, me with an orange and lemonade him with a mars bar. If this goes on for a long time this part will be the hardest part for me but my prayer is that actually maybe we can look back on this time and see it as a really significant season for us.
I think we will see tough times ahead. Without a doubt. But there is always hope, always. I think it will mean a simpler, stripped back life for many people but maybe that may bring a freedom with it. Financially who knows how this will impact our economies but maybe it will teach us that we actually don’t have as much control as we think we do and that actually money, things, holidays are not the things of substance in our lives. Maybe for some of us it will be a call to be sacrificial and generous in ways we have never had to before – going without those luxuries for a while, giving our excess income to those who have lost theirs, or to those where this throws them into even more dire straits than they were before. Maybe we will learn to do community in a whole new way, in a way that makes us all richer.
I think when we are forced to let go we often find things we could never have imagined.
I am not for one minute trying to downplay what is going on. I know for many the mental health implications will be massive. People will grieve and I know given the circumstances of isolation and social distancing, that process will be even harder. People will struggle to feed their families.
But for those of us who are able maybe this is a time in history where we get to choose a different way. A less selfish way.
I know for me personally this will put my faith to the test. But whatever wrestles and struggles come I know he is bigger, that he is mighty, that he can always make a way and that he loves us. We may not understand everything that is happening in the course of the weeks and months ahead but I know he still has a plan and a purpose, that we still have a future. I can’t do this without believing that. When everything I know and love is temporarily taken away from me, other than my home and child, he is it. He should always be it, but I am so easily distracted, life gets busy and so I know this is a time where all of that changes and so it will change my relationship with him if I let him. And that can only be a good thing.
So if you pray this is a time to pray hard and if you don’t maybe give it a go. Each day make time to say thank you for because we still have so many things to be grateful for. Sing – I intend to play show tunes each day because a good show tune makes everything a little bit better. Dance. Play. Laugh. And love hard.
And know that whatever comes, whatever is taken, you are still loved, nothing can take that away and that will see us through.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 vs 13