I have found the transition to Covid-19 alert level 2 surprisingly difficult. At least, I think that's what it is! Today and yesterday I seem to have been getting upset uncommonly easy.
I found the move to having an alert system and rapidly moving through levels 2, 3 and into 4 not too bad. It took adjustment to have Martin and Sarah at home all the time. I'm used to being on my own a lot and found that quite overwhelming initially. But we have a large house where all three of us can easily be fairly separate, and after a week or so that became much less of an issue.
I was (and remain) stressed about the uncertainty of it all and what implications this will have for my own life and my country in coming years. I was (and remain) deeply concerned about what Covid-19 will mean for less-well-resourced parts of the world. The economic disruption has caused many states in India to relax labour laws in hopes of keeping the economy moving (in the most extreme example, Uttar Pradesh, a worker now has no legal recourse if their employer simply doesn't pay them); at least a million garment workers are out of work in Bangladesh (with Western brands refusing to pay for work already completed and shipped); the first cases of Covid-19 have been reported in both Cox's Bazaar (the world's largest refugee camp, home to many Rohingya who have fled Myanmar) and the community where Freeset works (a social enterprise in Kolkata with which my church has a longstanding engagement). So much suffering. Lord, have mercy.
But I have become increasingly settled as the weeks have gone by. The move from level 4 to level 3 didn't mean much for my household. We got takeaways once. Martin and I started biking further from home. I resumed swimming (and have swum in the sea three times in recent weeks, although the water's awfully cold now!) But other than that, nothing much changed.
Now things are different. With level 2 we can see other people again, albeit in small numbers. We're allowed to 'ease slowly out of our bubbles', although it's left to our own judgement to work out what that means. We're being told to 'keep it small', but you could have mini parties with different groups of 10 people multiple times every day and you wouldn't be breaking the rules.
I've long known that I don't like change and I do like rules. I like to know where I stand. I quite enjoy figuring out a system and working out how to achieve my own goals within it. The substantial health and economic threats of this situation are a constant background stress, but lockdown itself (with the exception of the way it actually increased my people contact), didn't work out too badly for me. Working out what is wise now is much harder. How many people should we each see? How close should we come to each of those people, given we're allowed to hug folk but we're still encouraged to be careful in general? And how can we possibly work out answers to those questions, when literally no one has any idea whether it's still possible to catch Covid-19 in the community in New Zealand right now?
So our household is trying to keep our contact numbers small over these first two weeks - not more than 10 each if we can manage it. But who knows if that's the right approach? There aren't any 'rules' any more. As I see it, level 2 is basically about testing the system and seeing if a bunch of people get sick as a result or not. If anyone does, I'd rather not be one of them. I have a tendency to get a fairly bad dose of anything I catch, and my asthma increases my specific risk to this virus.
Since Sunday morning, I've felt badly hurt by three separate people on three separate occasions, each time with a lingering sense of upset that's lasted for hours. As I was praying about the latest of these it finally occurred to me that there was a pattern - I'm mostly likely feeling hurt so much now as I'm unusually fragile.
I tried praying about the upsets themselves, working through the RAIN process I've found helpful in the past. That's when I noticed the pattern - how lastingly upset I've suddenly become. So instead, I've been both reminding myself what I think is causing this, and also simply welcoming Jesus into this situation - to be with me in this upset time. Things are probably going to be uncertain for a while yet as we all gradually ease back into normality - possibly with setbacks along the way. I'm asking God to be with me as I live through that, and to show me clearly anything he wants to say to me (or wants me to notice) along the way. And I'm so grateful to have the option to do that :-)
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