The Stage 4 restrictions continue to encourage us to think about how we prioritise our time. Recently I came across an invitation to light a candle each day at the start of the 8.00pm curfew. In my house, 8.00pm has increasingly become a time to stop what we are doing and to talk about what has unfolded that day and to think of others known and unknown to us. It has become a time to talk about the latest Victorian Health Department numbers of those who are unwell and who now need our prayers, and to remember those living in troubled or unsafe places or who are working to help those who have no fixed address. We have found the following prayer to be one of hope:
God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light.
Being encouraged to just stay at home for longer periods has seen us find some creative ways to prepare for the annual Middle School 3km fun run. Rather than trying to exercise for one hour a day away from home, we have looked at ways to exercise throughout the day at home. We have measured the length of our driveway and recorded times and distances covered, using a mobile phone app, and also by placing stones in a container at the end of each lap of the driveway. To our surprise, our mini-schnauzer, who is always a keen observer of and participant in anything we do in her backyard, has been responding to us placing the stones in set piles by discretely returning them to the gravel driveway. While it meant that some days we would go back inside remarking to each other somehow training seemed to take a little longer today, this has become one of our latest lockdown highlights.
I have also set myself the challenge during Stage 4 restrictions to try and make contact by phone or text with everyone in my mobile phone contact list. As I work my way through the list, those who I have spoken with have shared some great stories of what they have been doing during lockdown and I have really appreciated the time to catch up. Post-lockdown, I am looking forward to seeing more people face-to-face and continuing to laugh at the stories of what die-hard St Kilda fans are planning if they need to head north if their team makes the 2020 Grand Final, the tasty soups being made from what’s left in the crisper and freezer and the skills on display at some of the different and creative church services people are watching online.
Wherever you find yourselves as you balance all your time demands, may the following prayer help guide your decision making in the coming weeks. If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to email me.
Let us pray. God of love and hope, you made the world and care for all creation, but the world feels strange right now. The news is full of stories about COVID-19. Some people are worried that they might get ill. Others are anxious for their family and friends. Be with them and help them to find peace. We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists, and all who are working to discover the right medicines to help those who are ill. Thank you that even in these anxious times, you are with us. Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe. Amen.
Take care and God bless.
Middle School Chaplain