Truths are unmasked whenever we face difficulties. Our struggles can often be painful opportunities to learn and grow. I have listed five things this period of isolation is teaching me.
Value of friendship
We moved to London about five months ago. A few weeks later we were told to stay at home. All places where people gathered in large groups were closed. All the attractions of this great old city were now out of our reach.
Not only am I missing our friends we left behind, but this pandemic has also put an awkward pause on the relationships we’ve been developing here.
I was enjoying meeting up with many lovely people at our new church. While we still text and meet online, I’ve come to realise the value of seeing them face to face. The value of catching up with them after church and seeing what the week held for them.
I’ve realised I miss their company as well as the company of friends back home.
Patience and endurance
Things are starting to get to me now. The long queues for a simple grocery shop. The fact I have yet to forge a strong community here.
It’s not just the physical isolation that is difficult. As expressed earlier, it is the social isolation as well.
Then there is the boredom of spending all my time in our small flat. It is starting to play on my nerves.
It’s times like this I need to remind myself that this lockdown is an endurance test of sorts. As we hear schools will stay closed in May and talk that this lockdown will continue until September, I find myself struggling to accept the situation.
But accept it I must. There is no other way around it. We have to go through it. So I am telling myself London in all its glory will still be there to explore when this time is over and praying for patience and endurance.
Thankful for the small things
I am finding small things lifting my spirits these days. A kind smile from a stranger. A wave from a staff member at the grocery store. Sunlight on my back or a tree in full bloom on our street corner.
I miss my long walks with friends back in Australia, but I am finding pleasure in walking around my neighbourhood here. This place is different. Streets are lined with charming old houses and some have beautiful gardens bursting with spring flowers.
I am trying to hold on to these moments. And I am grateful for them.
People are awful and magnificent
This pandemic has taught me we are not invincible nor are we that great. We can be felled by something as small as a virus. COVID-19 has also shown a cowardly and selfish side in us all. The panic buying, the subtle and not so subtle racism, the willful disregard of the lockdown rules have been awful.
But this pandemic has also taught me people can be magnificent. Other than our essential workers who are saving lives and enabling us to stay at home, there have been moments of care from other ordinary people at this stressful time.
When our local council called out for volunteers to help people with a disability and the elderly, more than three thousand people responded.
At 8 pm on Thursday our street bursts with noise. People bang pots and pans. They clap and whoop to thank people working for the NHS and other essential workers. Their community spirit moves me to tears sometimes.
I see messages of hope from children stuck on windows in our neighbourhood. Every time I pass a picture of a rainbow, it makes me smile.
We can be awful beings capable of such good.
God is still good in the storm
In this difficult time, it is so easy to question God and his motives. But even in this awfulness, I have found comfort in the fact he is God and he is still good. I find his goodness to me and my family in the small and the big things.
But more importantly, I find his goodness through Jesus. I am comforted by the fact that the God I serve is not immune to suffering. He became human and went to hell and back to save me. He never promises to take suffering away, but he does promise I will never walk this difficult life alone.