I have to confess my heart sank rather when I heard a second lockdown was coming. With my HWH working in the NHS I realise the necessity of it as they are so overstretched. While it’s relatively quick to build a new hospital it takes much longer to train the staff to work in it. The NHS is chronically understaffed and news bulletins have failed to tell us so who will be working in the new hospitals. However, I think it was the realisation of how my life has changed since March that triggered my gloom. Home educating families get out and about a lot. Probably more than many children at school who spend the majority of each day within the confines of their school boundaries. Our freedom to roam and visit and meet up with friends has been severely curtailed, with a brief respite in the summer, which has meant our family time has become much more concentrated, without the usual dilutions of other distractions and occupations.
However, we can make choices to bring light rather than gloom into our homes. Here are a few of the steps I’ve made to go in that direction.
First stop was to visit our favourite charity shops before they closed and stock up on some “essentials”; a couple of board games, some DVD’s, some new plates (if we’re going to be spending so much time at home, I may as well enjoy the plates onto which I’m dishing up the food) a pair of jeans and a dungaree dress for myself and Dancing Toes (so I don’t spend the whole month in jeans).
Next we went to our local craft shop and I bought some wool to make a scarf as a Christmas gift and a piece of material for each girl to make dolls’ clothes.
We went into Wells to meet up with Granny (top pic). She bought the girls some books form the market and I bought some apples.
I can choose to be thankful for all the good things we have and purposefully fill my mind with words and music which lift me up, not pull me down (I take a quick look a the news app in the morning and choose a couple of things to pray about, and then listen briefly in the evening. I’m listening instead to podcasts and audible books which have a much better effect on my emotional well being). I’m enjoying reading “The Herb of Grace” as part of @elizabethgoudgebookclub which is fun.
We will go outside at least once a day and take note of God’s beautiful creation.
I will try to connect with family and friends as is possible. We’re not meant to live in isolation and I think it’s this which is having a negative impact on so many of us. During the summer lockdown it was easier to chat with neighbours out in the sunshine.
We can create times of celebration in the midst of it all. We had our own “bonfire night” around the fire pit eating sausages, roasting marshmallows and enjoying the first mulled wine of the season. The kids had some sparklers. Simple, but memorable.
I try to listen to what God might be saying in all this. Many of my prayers have been of the “help!” variety. I felt God suggesting that I use this time to pray more; a positive withdrawal for a short time. “What the enemy means for harm, God can turn to good”. I think these are words from an old song. I can choose to use this time to seek God’s heart, to be crying out to him on behalf of our nation for the many ways we have sinned and turned our backs on His good ways, to be still enough to hear his still small voice as He speaks into my life. We’ve listened to the first two of the autumn lectures from the Christian Institute which gave us much to ponder.
We still have our grumps and niggles and stresses and strains. But my quiet times, early in the morning before everyone else is up, with a mug of hot tea, a lit candle and my Bible are an anchor for my days. We will all get through this time. And maybe God is inviting us to be using it, in all the difficulties, as training ground for times to come.