After this long disruption of our lives we look forward to seeing our families and friends and we relish the opening up of pubs and restaurants. We also welcome the ability to return to all our places of worship. Perhaps now is a good time to think about some of the ways our lives have changed during the seemingly endless weeks of isolation.
The past weeks of lockdown have been stressful for the many people confined to their homes, unable to go to work and barred from mixing with their loved ones. Then there was the added burden of the inability to involve themselves in sports or other leisure activities.
Has there been any positive side to these dramatic changes in our normal everyday routines? We have certainly been given time to think about the very personal aspects of our lives, our relationships, our beliefs and the balance between our work and leisure time. I have spoken to a number of people who have decided to change their jobs and retrain for a new career. Other friends have become much more interested in their faith or discovering some deeper sense of meaning in their lives through exploring new paths to a greater feeling of well being.
The trauma we have witnessed has shown humankind to be no longer totally in charge of its destiny. We find ourselves unable to be in total control of the world around us. We are accustomed to being able to automatically deploy the relevant science, technology or medical resources to sort our problems. Not being in charge of our own lives or destiny at this time can be dispiriting & depressing but I have seen a lot of evidence of local people responding to these challenges by taking charge in their local communities at grass roots level.
Up and down the country we have seen new neighbourhood groups, revitalised local charities in villages and in the heart of our towns and people deciding to pitch in to work together to make a difference. They might be using traditional ways of doing this, but many are using social media and what’s app groups to keep in touch, organise and get things done. From helping shielded neighbours with their shopping to assisting parents with child care problems, or organising online quizzes there has been a remarkable flourishing of buzzing little local groups. Many near neighbours who had hardly exchanged words in the past have become friends working together.
All this activity is heart warming and really exciting; but how do we keep this new spirit alive as we start to get back to our old lives? The new normal could be an exciting opportunity to strengthen & grow what we created during the crisis. For many of us the Thursday night clap, saucepan bashing moments at eight a clock when we thanked the NHS teams and all those working to save us & our country were very special moments! It is that kind of spirit of communities coming together that I hope we can carry forward in the future!