Thursday 2nd April
View from the Rectory
Yesterday as I was preparing to live stream the communion service the light fitting in my study broke and I had no light. Fortunately the room wasn’t too dark and we managed. The Diocesan Property Department, who are wonderfully supportive, sent an electrician out today to replace the light fitting, put a brighter bulb in and check all the other fittings in the house.
When the electrician arrived I backed away from the door and let him into the house. As he worked, every time he came into a room I left it, and then when he left I sanitised all the door handles and light switches. It amused me that behaviour which in normal times would have seemed extremely rude has become a routine part of our daily lives.
We are all learning new ways of interacting with each other, new ways of carrying out our daily work – where we can, and a new awareness of our surrounding and what may or may not harm us. These are stressful times and ordinary activities have taken on new challenges. Yet I am finding how marvellously some of our most vulnerable people are taking new ways of living in their stride and how we can even make this new way of life fun.
My mother is 86. She is badly crippled with arthritis, is very deaf and has heart disease. For the past two years she has been pretty much housebound. My sister and I do most of the jobs around the house and carers from Age UK come in weekly to clean her house and do her ironing for her. When the lockdown happened we feared for her. How would she manage.? She is very used to her own company and wouldn’t mind not seeing us – as long as we kept contact. But how would she look after herself?
She amazed us by drawing up a rota of work. Each day she cleans a different room or does some ironing. She started making projects for her neighbours’ children: observing the growth of tadpoles form her pond and making simple felt animals. She was at her window last Thursday night to applaud the NHS and has made a rainbow to go in her window to add to the rainbow trail for the children on her estate. My sister visits and they chat through the window. I phone every evening for a chat. Her medication and groceries are delivered when necessary and she has embarked on a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
She is not alone. As I daily speak to our older and more vulnerable parishioners over the phone I am amazed at their stoicism and resilience and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Of course, some vulnerable people are struggling and finding the new world order very difficult and very frightening. People are feeling very lonely and anxious. We can help them by praying for them. Noting who around us might need help and offering support. And, you never know, they may even offer you support and do something to cheer you up.
Cleanliness is key