COVID-19: My Life in Lockdown and Now in Tier 3.
by Nick Bishop
No one would have believed that in the latter half of the 20th Century, every facet of our daily lives would be turned upside down by a pandemic in 2020. Seeing people wearing masks, shields, and social distancing is like something from a dystopian future. Perhaps not even the great sci-fi visionaries like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Aldous Huxley, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, George Orwell, etc, could have envisioned such a future.
For me, the pandemic and lockdown have been both a curse and a blessing. At first, when it was touted that masks could keep you safe, as could social distancing, and sanitising your hands, I was a little sceptical. I would go into shops, cafes, bars, etc, not wearing a mask and perhaps not even paying proper attention to social distancing. However, when lockdown came into being and evidence was presented that masks and social distancing could save lives, I took notice. Especially, when scenes of people on ventilators appeared, fighting for their lives because of this terrible virus, compliance seemed right and correct. I did not want to end up in hospital in a critical condition. I was disturbed by the death toll and the people it infected, especially among the BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) community, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions.
I love going into cafes, for a beverage, and I enjoy socialising. But suddenly, all these places were shut to me. How strange it was to queue when entering premises to go shopping while seeing people wearing all manner of face coverings to protect them from COVID.
At least, thank the Lord, when at home, I had my writing, exercising, and the company of my wife, my in-laws and dog. I could still visit green spaces and meditate with the Lord. All of this I found helpful, as I suffer from anxiety and depression. I have also learned to practice quiet, contemplative, meditative, and even, intimate prayer, in God’s presence. There have been many times in my life when I have drawn near to God, and this year made me draw even closer to Him.
When my wife was furloughed, I could not volunteer at the PDSA, and none of us could go out to places we usually visit, I wondered how we would all cope. Yes, there were good times and hard times, but that is only to be expected with human beings. We do not always feel positive but thank God, we got through.
When I found times difficult I thought about contacting NHS mental health services, but, the Lord my mighty counsellor, got me through.
I was and still am patently aware, there are people in situations because of COVID and the last lockdown, who are far worse off than me. People who are isolated and never see anyone, people who had their appointments (especially medical) cancelled because of COVID. I was also, aware of the great kindness shown by neighbours, by complete strangers, and the wonderful work of those fighting this pernicious virus on the NHS. Sadly, some of them have paid the ultimate price.
I was encouraged by the fabulous walks of Tom Moore in his garden. A veteran from WWII, he raised millions for the NHS! What an example to us all!
Though I would not consider myself a Royalist, I understood what many would get from the Queen evoking the spirit of WWII, in the fight against Coronavirus.
It really did feel between the months of March – June (as the lockdown was lifted) the nation had come together. A true spirit, perhaps, not seen since WWII had brought the nation together in a common resolve to stand and fight this invisible, deadly killer. Even Boris came out of No 10 clap the NHS on a Thursday evening, probably thinking this was his finest hour (you will understand this if you are familiar with Boris’ obsession with Winston Churchill). Even he, however, fell foul of this virus, and it was touch and go, as to whether he would make it. However, politics aside, the Prime Minister made a full recovery and that was answered prayer, for many.
Since the lockdown has lifted, however, it seems the togetherness we felt has vanished and been replaced with weariness and disillusion. It seems that the government and the people are no longer on the same page when it comes to COVID. Certainly, the government has been at fault when it comes to communication and handling of the COVID crisis. Also, in flagrant disregard of the COVID precautions, people have gathered in groups – whether that be pro/anti-Blacks Lives Matter protests, football fans, beach gatherings and illegal parties/raves. None of this has helped the situation with the Coronavirus and this is why now, perhaps, we are seeing a rise again.
The Christian community has been golden in this time of crisis, whether as individuals, churches, organisations, etc. Right across the board, from food banks, care homes, hospitals, to just checking on neighbours, manning helplines, Christians have been at the forefront of this struggle.
As Boris announced again that parts of our nation are in different tiers of lockdown, we must all do what we can. As Christians, we must make an effort to protect ourselves, but also to serve and protect others too. In this time of uncertainty, we must show the true hand of Christianity and reach out to others, especially the poor, lonely, oppressed, elderly, weak and the unemployed, and spread God’s love.
In these dark times, it is our Christian duty (as it were), to show that there is hope and another way. That the communities around us may know us not just for words, sermons or Biblical quotes we offer, but by direct help too. As James said, “Words are nothing, without deeds”. There is a whole world crying out for spiritual, physical and mental help, so let us, as we are able, to imitate the Lord and be there for our troubled world.
Let us remember the Word of God at all times:
Matt 24:13: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved”.
John 8:32: “And you know the truth and the truth will set you free”.
God bless you.
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