Now that we’ve reached this stage of the lockdown I realise that I’ve struggled for the last few weeks.
Now, don’t worry this isn’t a moan or a rant, but hopefully just an honest reflection of where I am, because if I can’t be honest with myself then I’m not being honest with God either.
And for several weeks now I don’t think I’ve been totally honest. When well-meaning folk have asked “How are you ?” I’ve responded in a way that too many folk respond and I’ve replied “oh, I’m fine Thankyou” when inwardly I’ve Wanted to say “no, I’m not fine, I feel rubbish”. I’m struggling with honesty at the moment, because I’m trying to be upbeat for everyone else and it’s hard not to be honest.
I know I’m not unique in this And part of my reason for getting this into the blog is the hope that by being honest will help someone else to be honest also.
In general i’m finding myself listless, quite often tired and without energy; some days when the sheer abundance of ‘down’ thoughts overwhelm I struggle to focus on things which adds to the constant feeling of guilt and the ever increasing desire to retire.
I’m not in depression, but simply low on more days than usual. Why ? I think like many the lockdown isolation has tugged away at my happiness and taken the edge off things. Alison and I were reflecting the other day and we agreed that she’s coping much better than me because she’s content with her own company. By contrast I’m a people person, who enjoys the crowd, working the room in a coffee morning, shaking hands and smiling with folk. I’m a performer by nature and love having people around me. Consequently at a time like this when my only social interaction with others (apart from Alison) is predominantly by electronic means I feel the loss of hugging, touching, bonding. I think also having to do everything electronically has added to the workload in a strange way. As most know we’re bringing together two circuits to start on 1st September, and all of the paperwork and legalities feel much more slow moving; As Superintendent I find myself resentful of the four month I’ve lost getting to know the South Derbyshire Circuit; I’ve also found stressful being the person many seem to look to for answers in this unusual season, and especially the current question of “when can we reopen?” Ive even faced the accusation of being a dictator for closing the churches (not the government or even the virus) as apparently I was the one who did it 🤷🏻. We’ve lost our holiday to Oberammergau, to see the passion play, and instead had a holiday at home visiting the local garden centres ! Added to this I’ve been worrying about my brothers health (and others), he has a dodgy knee. Alongside the knowledge that he has carried the bulk of the load of selling Dads house, which adds to guilt. Andrew really has been brilliant and I look up to him so much.
And yet even in my low moments there’s so much to be grateful for; I hadn’t been looking forward to Fathers Day this year, but I had the knowledge that I had something which some never have the privilege of being able to say. My brother and I have had two wonderful parents. That thought helped me on that day but alongside it came the Remembrance of a young man experiencing his very first Fathers Day. Over the years I’ve regarded Gareth as like a Godson to me (or a son, in some ways) and this year he’s learnt what it’s like to be a Dad. I enjoyed the day because of the love of my own daughters and the joy of Gareth, Charlotte and Brooke.
Today I received a card which lifted and encouraged me. A card with a picture of lilac on it. It came from an unexpected source; a lady I’ve known now for 24 years. inside she simply wrote words of encouragement and spoke of how she hoped this card would be my hug and some TLC.
I have to tell you, it lifted my spirits no end. She recognised that I have my own support network of friends and family but hoped the card would be a further source of support, and it has been.
So, to all going through this pandemic with its low moments, it’s worries for further outbreaks, the loneliness of isolation and shielding, I just want to say God is in it with us in so many surprising ways.
Yesterday, I was a part of an online Bible Study group which looked at the 23rd Psalm and I was reminded of words that have carried people of faith throughout the ages. “The Lords my Shepherd, I’ll not want” (vs 1), “even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Vs 4), “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (vs 6).
i know that this pandemic will be overcome one day (although I grieve over the loss of lives) and we’ll truly see again how Gods working, so I’m not depressed and simply hoping that this will give at least one person the courage to say “actually I’m struggling” and then allow themselves to see their support network of friends, family and ultimately of God.
God bless you, keep safe, keep alert and keep trusting God.