Well, we are now officially social distancing. Steve comes into the over 70 group (I know, I know - he doesn't look it.....and most of the time doesn't act it!). I am in the vulnerable group due to asthma, the fact I react badly to any infection, and I'm still not completely recovered from last year's pneumonia.
So this means, under the government guidelines, we need to self isolate for 12 weeks..... All my bookings got cancelled without me having to do anything, so I don't feel as though I'm letting anyone down. There's one booking left for May, but I suspect that will be cancelled too due to the nature of what it is. Some meetings are still going ahead via Skype, and I'm still writing. But I have no prep work to do now.
You may have seen that Spring Harvest have cancelled, although they are looking to find ways to get content out via recordings and live streaming. Much prayer is needed for all of the conferences that have had to cancel - all are having to face the huge financial hit that this brings, and the inevitable disappointment of all involved, from guests to volunteers.
So what are we going to do? One of our lovely council of reference, on responding to our latest update to them said that this could be the sabbatical that never really happened back in 2018 when my mum passed away. So yes - there is a silver lining for us! And this introvert relishes alone time too....
We are very fortunate. Due to the fact I get paid for very little of the work I do, this won't impact on us too much from that perspective, but we are prayerfully mindful of many of our colleagues for whom no bookings means no money coming in - please join us in praying for them.
Steve is doing some of the shopping in the special over 70's slots - and seeing lots of people from church there - socially distanced of course! And we've managed to secure some online shopping slots. We have people offering what we can't find, which is so kind.
I'm going to take things slowly to start with and enjoy the space (And try not to feel guilty about that, which is hard). The first two and a bit months of the year were fairly busy, unusually so. I'm trying to be supportive and helpful on the many social media platforms and groups I work in, finding helpful resources and posting them where they will be of most use - especially the Additional Needs Alliance, where parents of children with additional needs and disabilities are especially hit hard at this time. But it's been great to see how people are rallying around each other, sharing ideas and giving support. Please do pray for these wonderful families in a time of uncertainty, anxiousness and fear.
This 'enforced isolation' gives me time to unearth my desk in our office that has been buried under props, puppets and multi-sensory equipment for far too long! The excavation is proving to be enlightening.....
As time goes on, I will need a better distiction between work and rest - seeing as I can't nip to the coffee shop to work now! (Plus saving money on all those coffees!) Hense the need to reclaim my desk.
The picture above is of one of the shelves on my side of the office - the words on the framed post card are there as a needed reminder. I'm someone that does normally struggle with fear, but at the moment....I'm not afraid, not anxious and not worried (for myself). My sense of humour is coming out a lot more! (Oh dear...) I'm praying all this remains when the time of reverse quarantine is over.
But whilst I feel unafraid, I feel incredibly sad. Steve and myself are incredibly priviledged. We have each other, we won't be struggling financially. The struggles we will face are so small compared to those who everyday have to live hand to mouth, whose jobs will cease to exist - with zero hours contracts meaning they are living on even less.
In the panic buying, those who can't afford to do this are struggling to find what they need, and the things that are left on the shelves are the more expensive brands that blow a small budget.
Food banks are getting less donations, and people are taking items out of the donation boxes in supermarkets. But the need that is already high, will rise more in the next few months. The food banks need to be ready.
Disability and isolation mean I can't do much, but I will do what I can (Including knitting baby clothes for the new mum packs that our local food bank give away).
Meanwhile, keep safe - keep well - and keep in touch!