Tag Archives: community

Life After Lockdown – *Things Haven’t Changed for Everyone*.

*Things haven’t changed for everyone*

Looking for the rainbows through the coronavirus storms, I was encouraged by how many people initially reached out to others who were in need at the start of lockdown. Many of you have been faithfully doing what you can to use your abilities to help and serve other people.

It can be easy to lose sight of that as things change. Many of us have had time to reflect upon the ways in which we don’t want things to go ‘back to normal’. While we are compelled to walk into a ‘new normal’ we also have the opportunity to forge out a better way of living life as a society.

The risk is that as we go back into society, we lose sight of the lessons we have collectively learned about humility, giving, self sacrifice (especially those front line workers who gave up time with their family, even gave their own lives to help others), kindness, compassion and taking time to think and advocate for others.

I’m hoping that we will see a shift in heart attitudes and behaviour. I’m wondering whether we might see some of those positive changes reflected in how we shop and our behaviour collectively at Christmas this year for example. I hope we’ve collectively had a ‘change of heart’, but then we do still contend with the tendencies to hoard (toilet paper?!) and look out mainly for ourselves.

As restrictions ease and many of us will enjoy greater freedoms, it’s good to bear in mind that there are still people for whom things haven’t changed much. People who have been shielding for instance and who don’t feel confident enough to risk their own health by going out, people who may have had more contact online but don’t have connections in real life and who may become forgotten about once people start ‘getting back to normal’. We’ve learned lessons about prejudice, about vulnerability, about mental health, homelessness and hardships in our society, and had more time than our previous busy lives would have allowed to take it all in. Many of us have cared deeply and tried to do something to help.

Now, however, it can become all too easy to forget. To become self-focused as we get excited perhaps about the things we can do once more. Not everyone will be in that position. While we can’t save the world, we can bring kindness to it. We can be intentional in thinking about those in our friendship groups who won’t have families to connect with, or may have to continue to stay indoors for various reasons. Some may be grieving the loss of loved ones from the coronavirus. We can take time to remember the causes for social justice that we were touched by and patiently, humbly continue to do what is right.

So, to sum it all up, let’s allow the deeper lessons we have learned to stay with us, to take the opportunity to make the ‘new normal’ into a ‘better normal’, and to keep remembering to think of others for whom life will still be hard, and to be kind to ourselves and each other in the process.Β 

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Surviving The Pandemic Together. Words of Encouragement (19): *Swords and spades*.

*Swords and spades*.


The initial cheers for our frontline workers (medics, virologists, drivers, supermarket workers, cleaners, crematorium staff, care workers, the list goes on…) across the globe felt like a crescendo of encouragement, ‘rallying the troops’. In this pandemic, countries are not warring with each other, but rallying together against a common global enemy.
Perhaps being isolated, you have felt helpless and alone in this strange catastrophe. Yet, the scenes we have witnessed and been part of, open a window to the many others who are all ‘on the same team’.


Now, we’re collectively fighting Coronavirus, and I sincerely hope that the ‘troops on the frontline’ feel a bit more refreshed and appreciated in their ongoing battle.
Let me just get back to the image of everyone clapping outside their homes, or from their homes. We are not isolated, although tucked away inside, we are not alone, and we *all* have a part to play, no matter how small that might feel to you at the moment, we all have a crucial role to play in ‘blocking those gaps’ against this unseen enemy, by staying at home, by good hygiene, and by supporting other people in a variety of ways, and also by taking care of ourselves.


You may be wondering why I have titled this post ‘swords and spades’. I’m glad you asked ! πŸ˜‰ Some of you I’m well aware will already know, and that gives me a boost of confidence for a variety of reasons πŸ™πŸ‘Œ.


For those of you who don’t yet know, if we look back in history, there was a man named Nehemiah who was an ordinary and decent man, living in 5th Century BC, who found himself in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. We have witnessed news of wars and terrorism all across the world, and Nehemiah lived at a time where he was living in the midst of constant attacks from groups of people who wanted to destroy and crush those he knew, those he worked with, those he loved, an entire group of people just going about their lives. As enemies descended upon them with distressing regularity, they found their daily lives to be changed and challenged.


In front of *their* own homes, each and every one of them had to be part of a defence and recovery mission. Literally, with a sword in one hand an a tool for building in the other they had to both defend themselves against attack, and also collectively build together what was constantly being broken down. Just as in a previous post where I talked about the image of us bringing our ‘shields’ together in mutual defence and protection, I am sure you can see the analogies here with our own situation, from these actual events in history.


What figuratively are the swords and spades you are able to use, each from our own homes, in a collective and united effort?


What are your means of protection, and what are your instruments and skills to rebuild what is being broken?


Remember that you are part of a great and collective effort against all of this distress and unseen attack, and no small effort is wasted. Keep going, you fight and build with millions around the globe, so be encouraged! You are making a difference, but you shouldn’t let your guard down. Keep protecting, keep rebuilding.


(For those who are also fighting and defending on another level, a different ‘frontline’ where the battle is real and fierce, remember it is fought and won on our knees! Have vision and remember the stakes are even higher in this one, so pray and allow the Light to break through the darkness. Our Commander in Chief has got this. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™πŸ‘ŒπŸ’ͺ

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Surviving The Pandemic Together. Words of Encouragement (18): *Encourage your encouragers*

In the UK, as in many other parts of the world, we ‘clap for our carers’ to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of our National Health Service. It is heartening to see (and hear). I really do hope it is an encouragement to stay strong and to keep on going.
The people around us, as we can clearly see, aren’t invincible. They need support and encouragement, especially those on the front lines who are doing so much for each and every one of us. A collective well done for showing your / our support!
For those of you who like to watch or play team sports, doesn’t the cheer of a crowd spur on the players, and give them that bit of a boost? When you are enduring any challenge, it makes such a difference to know that you are surrounded by a ‘great cloud of witnesses’ who have gone before you or who are cheering you on (and yes I meant ‘cloud’ and now ‘crowd’ – Hebrews 12:1 πŸ˜‰ ).
Similarly in your life, there will be people doing things to strengthen, encourage and help you. Maybe it’s someone in your family who speaks to you and listens to your concerns, whether in person or on the phone. Maybe it is a friend who is always there for you. Maybe it is your child who draws pictures of rainbows to put in the window to cheer you and other people up. Maybe it is someone who brings you food and leaves it at your door, or someone who prays for you, gives you advice and guidance, or helps and supports you in some way. Just as you need them, remember that they too are only human, and ‘cheer them on’ to keep going, even if it is in seemingly small ways. It all makes a difference. Listen to your spouse who has taken time to hear your concerns. Tell your child how much of a difference they are making to you with their little offerings. Let your neighbour know just how much they are valued and how them bringing you food is a great thing in your life and that they are making a difference. Those you lean on may not have support in their own lives, so as we cheer on the NHS, and other health services, food delivery drivers, shop workers, and so on, around the world, let us also cheer on those closest to us. Every little helps. ❀ P.S. You’re doing great, keep going strong! πŸ™‚

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Surviving the Pandemic Together. Words of Encouragement (16): *Enjoying the little things*.

*Enjoying the little things*.


I feel like my last few posts have been a bit ‘heavy’. It’s the reality, but we also need to be able to focus on the good things, the little bursts of sunshine, and the brighter rays of light in our days.
I’ll keep this short in the hope that we can continue to build community spirit and resilience, and that some of you will post about the ‘little things’ that have been good in your days. Thank you.

person wearing white protective suit sitting on green grass field with white dog
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Surviving the Pandemic Together: Words of Encouragement (13): *Grief and disbelief*.

*Grief and disbelief*.


We are hearing everyday in the news and social media, and through other people, of the rising numbers of people affected by Coronavirus. We hear constant updates on the death tolls in our own and other countries. The scale of this tragedy is beyond comprehension, and we find ways to cope, to perhaps become ‘numb’ to it, or to hold it all at a distance.


However, we don’t just hear about the numbers, we are also reading stories about the real lives, seeing faces and names, and insights into the families that are grieving.
I know that among you there are some people who have either heard of people known to them in some way who have either recovered from the virus or who have died as a result.


That’s when it begins to hit home. That’s when there is a need for a Peace beyond ourselves, for reassurance, and comfort.


To any of you who are in this situation right now, I hope you can find the space to grieve, and to find comfort and Peace in this situation, and support from loved ones and friends.
For the rest of us for whom these realities are thankfully still at arms length and are other people’s stories, we will still be experiencing all sorts of thoughts and emotions including the disbelief of what we are actually living through collectively.


Last year, we heard of the deaths of many celebrities. This year, well….there really are no words, are there?


Perhaps we can take comfort in seeking and turning to a Peace and comfort that Is greater than and transcends all that is happening on earth right now, the Peace of Christ. Perhaps, we can also grow stronger as a community and be the listening ears for our friends, the shoulders to cry on, and the support that is much needed in sad and worrying times like this.

Peace I give

Surviving the pandemic together. Words of Encouragement (7): *What do we do when we hear news of tragedies?*

Words of Encouragement (7):
*What do we do when we hear news of tragedies?*


I pray that each of you, your friends, families and those in your life will never personally experience the tragedies of this Coronavirus. Many of you have faced enough heartache in your own lives already ❀
Yet, we are hearing more and more of things that are just awful, and we may be able to hold things at a bit of a distance, but the terrible reality is that ordinary people are experiencing things first hand in their lives, that of their family members, colleagues and others. I don’t think we will see this abating any time soon, so what do we do?
Friends, I don’t have the answer to that. I can turn to Christ for comfort, as some others also can, but not everyone does. I think the important thing for all of us is that we take particular care to take care of each other and to make sure we inform other people who are being careless or reckless in these days that this is a serious situation. A young nurse treating patients who died of the virus took her life today. A 21 year old girl died. We want to pause for each one and for their families and not let them become just numbers. But this is unlike any of us have ever experienced.
There are no easy answers, but it goes to show how important it is that we ‘put our shields together’ in these days. Shields of faith, shields of hope, of truth, of courage, of kindness….we need to shelter and protect one another because this reality is taking its toll on people’s mental health and we need to become a strong community that can hold each other up in these times no matter what our differences are. We need to take care of ourselves, but we also need to know that we can mutually support each other, so let’s keep drawing close, lending a helping hand, a listening ear….and make sure that we as a community don’t allow this to get too much for any of us mentally or emotionally….and a word for my younger friends…..you can always talk to me, message me, these are tough things to hear about, it can be scary, but I and other adults are on your side, we’ll be there for you and you’re not alone. ‘Grown ups’….you’re not alone either.
Shields up, everyone! ❀ x

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Surviving the pandemic together. Words of Encouragement (2): *Home alone and feeling helpless*.

Words of Encouragement (2):
*Home alone and feeling helpless*.


I want to address this to those of you who feel like you ought to be doing more to help, and perhaps are feeling frustrated with being stuck at home during some form of isolation. I’m writing to friends in different parts of the world, so our various governments and health services may be addressing this pandemic differently. However, many of us have been told to stay at home.
Whether or not you are home alone, or at home with others, you may be struggling with feeling frustrated and helpless when others on the frontline are out there and doing something.
For each and all of us, please don’t underestimate the power of this action. It is not inaction, but a deliberate and purposeful way of protecting human life, and you are part of that – a very big part of things. As contrary to our instincts as it may feel, by not doing something in this instance, you are actually doing something very powerful. Rosa Parks made a stand by remaining seated. In a very different but also significant and powerful way, by staying at home, your choice, your action, is helping to save lives. Please don’t feel disempowered in this situation, you *are* making a difference, and many people who are staying safe and well, and alive because of you, would thank you for it.

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Surviving the pandemic together. Words of Encouragement (1): Not alone.

Words of Encouragement (1):
We all find ourselves in a situation that we’ve never experienced before (a global pandemic! ), one that can feel frightening, nerve-wracking and filled with uncertainty and worry. A situation that none of us expected to be facing this year, or perhaps ever! Yet notice that *we* are facing this together, and it is affecting *us*. I’d like to try as much as possible to offer some snippets of regular encouragement to help us all through as a community.
To start with, I’d like to encourage you that you are not alone, we are all facing this together, and if you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach out to bloggers, you can reach out to groups, or other friends or family, and even if we don’t have a direct solution, there are a lot of networks forming regularly, with advice, support and practical and emotional help, so someone should be able to point you in the right direction in your area. You’re not alone. We’re in this together. Feel free to open up discussion in the comments because someone might just be able to offer you the encouragement and mutual support that we all need, especially at a time like this. Stay safe and well.

woman near window
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Coronavirus: Self preservation and protecting others…

We all must be familiar with the news of this unfamiliar virus Covid-19 by now. It is fair to say that a lot of things have been revealed about human behaviour during this time:

  • Fear of the unknown.
  • Feelings towards dying (a good time to consider our need for eternal salvation, and lift our eyes above our immediate concerns!).
  • Panic that leads to hoarding and buying more than we need.
  • A lack of consideration for the impact that our behaviour will have on others, such as the most vulnerable who may find that they cannot even find their basic necessities when they go to the shops.
  • Racist attitudes.
  • Compassion.
  • A desire to help.
  • Self protection and self preservation.
  • Isolation and loneliness.
  • Nonchalance.
  • Community spirit.
  • Gratitude.
  • Selfishness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Fear and concern for other people.
  • The realisation that viruses don’t respect borders and at the end of the day no matter where we are from, we are all human and vulnerable to things that are bigger than us.

It’s a mixed bag, isn’t it!

And I don’t condemn or judge any of you / us who have experienced a range of these emotions or attitudes. Initially I saw the panic buying and I avoided it completely. Then the practical side of me considered the possible reality that I would have to stock up on what I need…but not to the extent of hoarding. Simultaneously I want to help other people and have been looking online for ways to do that.

We oscillate between self protection and wanting to help others, or at least I imagine most of us do. Our immediate concerns are for ourselves, our nearest and dearest, for avoiding causing harm to others and where safe, to help other people.

What can we do to help?

Keeping ourselves safe and well and hygienic actually is a help to others if we can curb the spread of this virus. Keeping away from frail or vulnerable people if we are at risk of compromising their immune system in some way. Keeping up to date with scientific advice to avoid the spread of misinformation. Helping each other with anxiety and fear, and most of all casting our cares upon God and seeking His Wisdom and love for humanity.

We can also do practical things where it is safe to do so. I’ve seen and heard of people doing things that encourages me. Such as parents who home-school / home educate their children sharing resources and advice with those whose children’s schools have been closed. I’ve heard stories of small local shops providing free care packages to vulnerable and elderly people and care homes, at a cost to themselves. My local church has set up an online support group where people can ask for or offer help in line with specialist advice to keep people safe. People checking in by telephone or email or text or Skype with those who are self isolating. Donations to charities. A local college recently set up a crowd funding page to raise money to prepare care packages for vulnerable people and they had to ask for people to stop donating because they had exceeded their target by far, and were donating the extra money to local food banks and homeless charities.

We have to start somewhere. We all have a selfishness in our hearts, and protecting ourselves and our loved ones is a good thing, but selfishness is not. Yet being honest with ourselves is the first step forwards. Realising that we are a global community is the next. And sharing ways to help and encourage each other safely will help us a little further down the path of kindness. We all need each other.

I need you. I need your advice and suggestions and encouragement. Because I don’t want to live selfishly through this time.

So my small step for today is to write this blog post. To encourage you no matter where you are that you can make a small change today, and if you need help, to encourage you to reach out to someone while at the same time staying safe and well.

Most of all I can pray – for each and every one of you reading this, for your loved ones, family, friends and those in your neighbourhoods to be protected, for your ultimate healing and salvation and also for your protection on earth also. God bless and let’s all help and encourage each other to live kindly in these uncertain times. x

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As we journey together through our blogs…

Recently, I’ve written quite a few posts on the theme of friendship.

Reflecting upon this aspect of our lives has brought me to the realisation that there is a unique, shared and comforting experience in being part of the blogging ‘community’. While we don’t have blogging ‘chat rooms’ or spaces as such (or at least not that I’m aware of. I know there used to be such shared spaces hosted by WordPress with daily challenges, community hubs and so forth, but they seem to have disappeared from my view – if they are still there somewhere please let me know πŸ™‚ ), we still have avenues of interaction with each other through comments, likes, sharing and collaborative posts.

I’m over two and a half years into my blogging adventure, and some of you have come to be familiar ‘faces’ in this journey. I have become familiar with some of your blogs, and have learned a bit about you as individuals from what you have shared, and often look forward to seeing your updates, as well as seeing you interacting with mine.

In a recent post on friendship I reflected upon the benefits of friendships and long term trusted connections in our lives.

And I have come to realise that this online shared space where we can express our deeper thoughts about our lives quite freely is in fact a real blessing, opportunity and comfort as we journey through not only our blogs, but in a remote yet potentially significant way, our lives together.

There is something about sharing the human experience that makes us feel less alone, don’t you think? And while nothing can replace face to face and real time connection with people we care about, blogging adds an extra dimension to our lives in which we can communicate some of our deepest thoughts and express parts of ourselves that perhaps we can’t do so freely with the people we meet with face to face, or at least not in the same way.

I realise that I really value this, and all of you, as we encourage each other in our blogs, and also our lives.

It is a gift and a blessing to share this journey, even in some small way, with you. Wouldn’t it be something if in years to come we have a community of people who mutually encourage and edify each other as we go through life?

As I approach my third year of blogging in a few months, I am certainly grateful that I began this adventure and journey of discovery and am very glad that I can share some of it with you. x

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