Strange times

Strange times have arrived. My diary has gone from full to empty.

We had our family weekend at home; some of us did the park run. It turned out to be the last park run before the shutdown. My daughter and I ran at chatting pace. It was very sociable. Suddenly, there are no activities, just life; to live with no plan, no structure, stretching before us. ‘Us.’ Not just me in the house. All of Mr A’s commitments are cancelled too.

I don’t want to get to the end of this and wish that I’d used the time more productively. So I’ve started a list, two lists in fact.

List 1: the time that I’ve gained because events have been cancelled or activities forbidden. No trips to visit Mum in the care home, no travelling to writing or theology classes, no volunteer stewarding. No church. No rambling club, but we can still get out and walk or run in the fresh air. Probably no looking after our granddaughters.

List 2: the things we can achieve with this time. Create a rhythm for each day. Make a plan, take a bit of control over some old to do lists. Spend time prioritising some important tasks, take the time to do a good job without rushing. Maintain a balance in daily life: nurture physical, mental and spiritual health. Don’t forget it’s Lent, a good time to think about this.

In the monastic tradition there’s time in community and time alone. Morning, noon and evening offices. Labour in the morning, creativity and leisure in the afternoon. A pattern. A rhythm that, together with the good fortune of a well stocked store cupboard, will carry us through.

I know that I am fortunate; others may not be starting from such a strong position. This is a time to help and support family, friends and neighbours. We can only get through this together.


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