Sustaining hope in hard times
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
We're all seeking new ways to cope since coronavirus took hold closer and closer to home. I've just had a message from an older couple saying how life is now 'almost unbelievable, more like living in a science fiction novel… With the various methods of modern communication we are not as isolated as we would have been in previous times, thank goodness… We realise that we are not invincible and we will lose friends or family over these coming weeks, even possibly each other. The sad thing will be not being able to say goodbye properly but whatever will be will be. We are ultimately in God's hands.'
Light at the end of the tunnel
I'm sure, like me, you're also receiving wise snippets and comedy clips circulating on the internet, many of them filmed by ordinary people trying to keep them sane in lockdown. They may be captioned 'Day 5 in Quarantine' or whatever – often featuring pets and family members engaged in various stunts.
Yet, this timely message really struck a chord and has done with friends and family to whom it's been forwarded.
It apparently originates from a teacher in China reflecting on lockdown. I share it just as it was received.
We are just finishing our 7th week of e-learning, seven weeks of being mainly housebound and seven weeks of uncertainty. We are healthy, we are happy, and we are humbled.
We are allowed to move around freely now with a green QR code that we show when we get our temperature taken. You get your temperature taken everywhere, and it's just become part of the routine. Most restaurants and shopping centres are now open, and life is coming back to our city.
As we watch the rest of the world begin their time inside, here are some of my reflections on the last seven weeks:
Accept that you have no control over the situation. Let go of any thoughts of trying to plan too much for the next month or two. Things change so fast. Don't be angry and annoyed at the system. Anxiety goes down, and you make the best of the situation – whatever that might be for you. Accept that this is what it is and things will get easier.
Try not to listen to/read/watch too much media. It WILL drive you crazy. There is a thing as too much!
The sense of community I have felt during this time is incredible. I could choose who I wanted to spend my energy on – who I wanted to call, message and connect with and found the quality of my relationships has improved.
Appreciate this enforced downtime. When do you ever have time like this? I will miss it when we go back to the fast-paced speed of the 'real world'.
Time goes fast. I still haven't picked up the ukelele I planned to learn, and there are box-set TV shows I haven't watched yet.
As a teacher, the relationships I have built with my students have only continued to grow. I have loved seeing how independent they are; filming themselves to respond to tasks while also learning essential life skills such as balance, risk-taking and problem-solving, that even we as adults are still learning.
You learn to appreciate the little things: sunshine through the window, flowers blossoming and being able to enjoy a coffee in a cafe.
To those just beginning this journey: you will get through it. Listen to what you are told, follow the rules and look out for each other. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
For reflections which offer hope and encouragement in dark times, you might turn to the book Anxious Times by Carmel Thomason (with a foreword by Archbishop John Sentamu) It's available from BRFonline.