(By Janet Strellis)
I write this while sitting in a sensory garden, with swaying grasses and flowers in bloom. I’ve just finished my book and have a cappuccino in my hand. Sounds tranquil doesn’t it? But there is the sound of sirens every two minutes and the garden is outside Oncology ward at Addenbrookes where I am awaiting a friend.
I guess for every situation, there is sometimes a need to find something positive to help us cope. Last year I was given a journal by the kids and was determined to write in it each day with three positive things.
Obviously, some days were harder than others and the positives didn’t amount to much. But in March this year I stopped altogether. I was struggling, as were so many of us. But interestingly, as time has gone on, I have found so many blessings to be savoured that I started to record them again.
I have really enjoyed the slower pace of life. Although I have continued to work in a school, there was so much more time to actually talk to my colleagues. And working on a rota, with fewer people, meant deeper conversations.
I have never spent so much time in my garden. Not just working, but enjoying. And so much time to just sit, just be, watch the insects and wildlife. The quiet has been astonishing.
I have talked to neighbours, really talked. After the Thursday clap, we would sit in the front garden for an hour or two. It was lovely.
My group of friends can usually only get together every couple of months, but like so many others, zoom chats have become a regular feature and I have laughed so much, just the same as when we are actually in the same room.
Zoom church has been a revelation and joy. The first communion on Maundy Thursday was so special and meaningful, I shall remember it. I have loved to see your faces and be connected to my church family of God.
I have had more time to pray, to read my Bible and to just listen to His voice.
I am by no means suggesting that the situation has not been hard for so many, this is just my experience.
Certainly, as water was coming through the lounge ceiling after a substantial leak, I found it hard to cope. When the second, unrelated leak happened in the kitchen it was another blow. I am still dealing with the aftermath of water marks and decorating. But even within this, I have found myself feeling rather proud of what I have achieved on my own and my new paintwork is testament to this.
So, I don’t mean to belittle the situation we are in. And it has been different for all of us.
But in the midst of it, I have felt God’s presence, the assurance of His love.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way.(Psalm 46)