So it’s the 23rd of March 2021, a year ago we were sitting on the sofa listening to Boris Johnson tell us for the first time, of many, to ‘stay at home’.
Thinking back to that moment, what are your initial thoughts and reflections?
As for a lot of people, I thought it would only be for a few weeks, and we that would have a short break from what was the rhythm of life. But that short break turned into a year. There has been lots of time to reflect and think, but above all this time has been revealing and profoundly important for so many people.
Can you say a bit more about how it has been revealing?
It has shown people that there is fragility built into loads of parts of our lives. Where we have depended on certain rhythms and routines to keep us sane in our relationships, work or faith, we’ve been slightly caught out. It has given us an opportunity to ask big questions. Questions about ourselves, about our systems. For a lot of people, it’s been an opportunity to take a different path, for some a 180-degree turn. We wouldn’t have had those opportunities if it wasn’t for lockdown.
So what about the big picture? Do you find places where you are hopeful?
I think we’ve all learnt to be more considered. More thought-through in terms of our trips out, our use of toilet-paper, how we relate to those around us. I hope we continue to consider our shared responsibility for our collective health and the health of the earth, as well as those most vulnerable; medically, socially, and economically.
How has church been for you?
For me church has been strange, a lot of the regular things I was engaging with have been able to carry on, and I’ve been continuing to serve my local church in different ways. The things that have kept me going have been the things before I perhaps would have said were more routine – things like morning prayer and life group. But I guess it is no suprise as these things both remind me that ‘I’ am part of a larger ‘we’.
What’s been your take away from the past year?
Permission to take time to do things that I wouldn’t have done. I posted on Instagram about ‘slow and close’ this year has been about the little rhythms, taking it slow. Obviously, there have been hard times missing friends and family, losing things including some like our wedding. But the ability to slow down is radically transformative for me, and something that I will definitely take into the next thing.
What do you hope we’ll tell our grandchildren about ‘lockdown’?
I was listening to a podcast the other day and they pointed to the fact that overnight or at least within a few days – billions of people changed their habits for the sake of the whole. I hope we talk about the things we got to do, the changes we got to make and the time we got to spend with those most immediate to us. But I also hope we are able to describe how difficult and heartbreaking it was at times, I don’t want it to become one of the things that our children have to tell our grandchildren ‘don’t mention the pandemic’. I think whenever we have deep trauma or upheaval that helps us tap into and become aware of equally deep wisdom and joy. We have a responsibility to pass that on, not just to grandkids, but to each other, continually.