How are you going now that the lock down restrictions are easing? Kevin and I were able to enjoy our first meal out on Wednesday at one of our favourite cafe’s. It was a little strange, with many of the tables missing, and having to sanitise our hands and give them our name and contact details before getting served was all a bit unusual. But the staff were upbeat, and we were delighted just to be able to get out. All this strangeness reflects the new normal we are experiencing, and there are many things that have changed. The lock down time has given us an opportunity to get our home in order, and to do those jobs that we always said, “one day we’ll get around to that.” And now we have. The picture shows our new vegetable garden, and we are delighted with the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables. There’s nothing better than being able to go out into the garden and pick fresh herbs and fruit, although we still have a long way to go before we can claim any real self sufficiency. The satisfaction comes through the effort.

It has been wonderful to open our doors to visitors, and to share with family and friends again. Two of our granddaughters have had special mile stone birthdays during the lock down, and we are so looking forward to being able to celebrate with them finally in the next few weeks. Being able to invite people over to share a meal makes us feel so happy, and we are planning on inviting the community to share in a Campfire/BBQ to celebrate the end of lock down. Whilst many of us have found ways to cope in this period of isolation, we acknowledge that for some people, it has been an anxious and lonely time. We have discovered again the importance of community and connection, and my hope is that as we move on to our new normal, we will all take the lessons from isolation, and value even more the people who are around us, and to make more effort to connect meaningfully with those people around us. I personally have learned that there are many ways of connecting, and have learned to use modern technology to communicate, such as I am now competent at using ZOOM; Messenger video chats; Whats app; and of course the important phone calls, text messages and emails. All these things have helped keep us connected, and this has been particularly important in that we have been able to encourage each other; share our concerns; and connect in new and meaningful ways.

I have learned that it is a waste of time to be upset; angry or frustrated because of these lock downs. I have learned not to focus on what I have missed out on in this time. I have felt a little sad that we had to cancel our trip to South Africa, which was to happen this month; I have been sad that I have not yet celebrated with my granddaughters their special events; I have been missing friends and family and being able to have people in my home. But more importantly, I have learned to focus on what is really important, and to find the blessing in what I have and value most. I celebrate in the waiting, and know that when this is all over, my relationships are not only intact, but have been strengthened in the period of isolation. I celebrate the opportunity to rest, to dream, to find joy in the moment. As we look back over these last few months, we will see that we survived, and survived well. Celebrate this time with a smile! I love the saying; “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” The joy is in giving, and I trust you will find blessing as you reconnect with family, friends and your community. The world is opening again, celebrate the moment.

Blessings, Rhonda

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