There are so many posts on social media and talks we can listen to which share what this time is all about, which talk about the opportunities we have now or perhaps even what we should be doing, and I don’t know about you but I find a lot of it really unhelpful.
This is not normal working from home. This is not normal parenting. We’re parenting in a pandemic. And this looks different for all of us. BUT not only does it look different, it feels different for all of us.
I have been watching our church services on Sunday mornings. (Usually. When the boys aren’t demanding snacks or haven’t just fallen over in the garden.) And, this Sunday something in me felt unsettled as I was listening.
I realised that it was because of phrases like, ‘for all of us this time feels like time in the desert’ or ‘this time is key because we are all forced to slow down.’ I found myself thinking, yes, for some of us that will be totally true. But for some of us it won’t.
We, as a family, have been busier than ever. Pete is working some days and most evenings to try and squeeze his work in before the weekend. So, that we then get some precious family time together. I am taking more funerals than ever before, as well as working my other two-day-a-week job. And then we’re juggling the boys between us as we do that. I certainly do not feel like I am in the desert or in a solitary space. And rather than being forced to slow down, I feel like life is fast forwarding. (We have found a wacky sort of balance. Our boys are happy (mostly) and we are building community with our neighbours in a way I could only have hoped for. So,we are coping in this weird, current, normal.)
I think though that it’s good for us to remind ourselves that this looks and feels different for all of us so that when we come across someone saying what this time is like for ‘all of us’ we can feel confident to say, ‘not for me’ and know that’s also ok. And then also when we share our own reflections and thoughts we share them in a way for others to take or leave them.
Missing that post-church debrief
One thing I love about church is the opportunity to hear what God is speaking to lots of different people, to hear their own thoughts and reflections and as part of the whole church to figure that all out in our own hearts. I think perhaps the reason I feel the need to process this ‘out-loud’ is because of this weird post-church vacuum we find ourselves in on Sundays at the moment. Church finishes, everyone shares how wonderful it has been in the online chat and wishes everyone well and then I’m back into the chaos of parenting – particularly as Pete carries on at the computer finishing up church stuff.
I think at a time when it can be hard to even think straight, it’s important to remind ourselves that we can read what we want, listen to what we want, and reflect on those things in whatever way works best for us. We can be bold and say, ‘yeah that didn’t resonate with me’. We can pause and figure out why not and what we are feeling instead. Otherwise it can feel quite lonely hearing what this time is for ‘all of us’ and wondering if we’re the only one experiencing it completely differently.
So, thank you for having this cup of tea with me post-church service. I’m here if you need to de-brief on your sermon (or mine!) at any point.