It has been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. Admittedly, I have really struggled with trying to write as often and as regularly as I would like. I could make up all kinds of excuses I suppose, but the fact is, I haven’t had much to really write about. In this season of Covid, I’m just trying to navigate this new normal.
My husband and I decided to take a road trip into the Kootenay region of British Columbia, trying to extend our holiday vibes for another week. It was wonderful to see new sights, and enjoy the warm weather. We knew we would be coming home to Southern Alberta and the possibility of frost and snow, so we languished on outside patios in B.C. and enjoyed the lake views for as long as possible. Sure enough, when we came home to the Ponderosa, I immediately turned my attention to moving my flower baskets indoors to avoid the killing frost expected. That’s the reality here in Alberta. We can go from temperatures close to 30 C. to below 0 overnight. Thankfully, the early cold snaps usually do not last long, so we can actually enjoy warmer weather within days of a frost or September snowfall.
These wild temperature fluctuations tend to mess with my head, and I wasn’t surprised when I battled a wicked headache for a couple days after returning from B.C. After a few days holed up inside, it was nice to venture out and about to do some grocery shopping. I reluctantly donned my mask and diligently followed the arrows to walk up and down the aisles. An hour in the store and I couldn’t wait to get to my car to remove my mask. I was actually starting to feel claustrophobic in a big box store!
We attended an indoor church service for the first time since March, before we left for B.C. Our church has taken all the precautions as regulated by Alberta Health to keep all congregants safe. Masks must be worn, no singing, no physical contact (handshakes, hugs). We must sign up for each service for contract tracing, we need to ensure we are healthy to attend; anyone with any signs of fever, cough, runny nose etc., are asked to stay at home. All the seats are spread out in the church auditorium to maintain physical distancing, and that means that there are fewer people allowed to attend the services. Sitting beside my husband, and looking around the sanctuary, I just felt so disconnected. Seeing all my church family again should have brought me such joy, instead I stared at their masked faces, and was adversely distracted by the distanced unfamiliarity I felt around me instead of the camaraderie and fellowship I once shared with them.
What has happened to us?
Fear has driven us to distance ourselves from one another. I see it every time I enter a store, or pass by someone on a sidewalk. We do our utmost to avoid contact. We are lepers without leprosy. With our masks on, it has become a visible statement that we are all “unclean” and we must avoid each other. I will admit that I am so saddened by this “new normal”.
Today, I remember nineteen years ago when the events on September 11th, 2001, changed our world drastically. I can’t help but think the events this year, will also force us to change. Along with the pandemic that has forced us to rethink health and safety protocols on a world-wide scale, there is a renewed call for social justice, being “Woke”, as they say, to the plight and privilege based on skin colour. Change is necessary, but at what cost?
So, my thoughts meander about.
Personally, I think coping and reacting appropriately to the world events of this year is discovering what God may be trying to teach me in these unprecedented times, and to consider and understand what I value most in life.
– I value my relationship with God. He is the Solid Foundation I have built my life upon. He will lead me through these challenging times.
– I value Family. The closest bonds I have are with my loved ones. Spending quality time with them is a priority.
– I value deep-rooted friendships. They stand the test of time!
– I value education. It means immersing myself in learning, and seeing life from all perspectives. It doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with everything or everyone, especially if viewpoints run contrary to my Christian world view, but rather, I hope it allows me the opportunity to share Christ in a caring compassionate way rather than sow further division.
– I value health and safety. This includes physical and mental health. I take time to count all the ways God has blessed me and to dwell on that rather than focus on negativity. (I value it, I haven’t said I’ve mastered it.)
These are just a few key things I value. I could list many more. I challenge you, my readers to make your own list of values, and think on those this week!