Tag Archives: Lockdown

Dear Friends, Beloved Reader. I am (almost) at a loss for words. I HAVE JUST SURVIVED AN ATTEMPT ON MY LIFE.

It was just a normal Tuesday morning wfh but in the time it took for me to leave the room and make a cup of tea, Lo and Behold, a DEAD MOUSE APPEARED NEXT TO THE SOFA.


HOW DID IT GET THERE? WHY WAS IT THERE? WHY WAS IT DEAD? I’d thought giant spiders trying to kill me during yoga was bad enough.

Dear Friends, Beloved Reader, we panicked. Of course we did. And then we bought all the mouse killing devices we could afford. I try and avoid Amazon (because: taxes, poor treatment of their employees and the Amazon guy has more money than is moral) but in this one instance, thank God for prime.


Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

No, of course I’m not sleeping properly, every strange sound and flicker of light could be another mouse trying to kill me. I am maintaining CONSTANT VIGILANCE. I peer round the living room door every morning, scanning the floor for any signs of another potentially life-threatening encounter with a dead mouse. Walking past the sofa gives me flashbacks. To be honest, it’s getting a little exhausting.

This past week I’ve been thinking about clean slates and what our lives would look like if we stepped into the rest of the summer with a mind and heart wiped clean of the dust of lockdown. Not to ignore all that has happened but what if we could take the lessons of the past few months and apply them in making the next few as good as they can be in these weird Corona Days?

Not gonna lie, two of my faves are getting married on Saturday and I can't be there because corona. What if, instead of adding this to my Rachel-is-Bitter-Because-Corona-Has-Stolen-All-These-Things-From-Her list, I wiped the slate clean and starting tuning my heart to gratitude and thankfulness instead?


We abandoned the calendar of good things in June. Even my Type 9 live-in-the-moment self struggled to find one good thing when every single day was exactly the same. And when I look into the rest of the summer still being at home, its hard to imagine how life can be anything other than monotonous and a bit of a waste of time. But what if I wiped the slate clean and looked into the summer with gratitude and thankfulness?

I'm kicking off with a few good things from the past few months:

  • Phone calls. I am my mother’s daughter - I just love to chat on the phone. Lockdown has given me the chance to call people I never ever would have called before because it just would have been weird. Much love to all my millennials pushing through their fear of the phone just so I can talk at them for a bit.
  • The grace for the day – from the days when everything was ok, to the days when I was a complete mess.
  • More time for reading. PSA: when you can hardly leave your house let alone the country do not read books all about wild adventure. It will convince you that the first thing you should do when the world reopens is quit your life, move abroad and find an adventure.
  • Living in pyjamas: work pyjamas, weekend pyjamas, night pyjamas, food shop pyjamas. I now consider wearing a bra and earrings the epitome of fancy.screenshot_20200722-2012153515448277954389766.png
  • Snail mail. Who doesn't love to send/receive good post?img-20200718-wa00011649181499132625062.jpeg

Do I need to wipe the slate clean and stop taking this paranoid is-there-a-mouse-trying-to-kill-me energy into every single day? Yes.

Do I need to wipe the slate clean and stop taking my negative lockdown energy into every single day? Yes.

Do I need to start focussing on the good things? Yes.

Teach us to remember, God; make our minds a storehouse for past promises kept, all the good things and hope fulfilled - so that we can be a prophet to our own present, a watchman on the walls of our own still night." Prayer Vol 1, Strahan Coleman

What are some of your good things from the past few months?

So, here we are. 3 months of lockdown done and dusted. Is it me or have the fires of our global/national/personal/work crises gotten all the hotter these past few weeks?

How are you holding up? Excited by life opening up a bit in July? Daunted by the second wave it will undoubtedly unleash?

Anyone else just done? Done with the banana bread? Done with online study? Done with slowness and silence and solitude? Done with not being able to go out for drinks and dance until the early hours of the morning? Done with zoom? (Though actually, the Zoom is still strong with Friday Night Wine - turns out, I'm a pretty good yoga teacher). screenshot_20200624-1437245458958343651526941.pngDone with your good hair days being wasted because you’re sat inside the house? Done with not having a haircut? Done with all your good clothes and heels languishing in your wardrobe? Yes, these are the most pressing issues facing the world right now.

screenshot_20200624-1416554068289407330215113.pngAre you done with each week bringing a new revelation of something that has been cancelled/postponed/lost?  Done with inequality? Done with the death and the unemployment and uncertainty of when it will all end?

Yep. I hear you. Please summon the Karen who knows how we can get refund for Jumanji 2020.

Take heart, turns out, we’re not the only ones who are done. Apparently there are three stages to dealing with crisis:

  1. Emergency: energy levels increase as we tap into our unknown reserves to deal with urgent tasks.
  2. Regression: we roll back to a less mature stage, we get tired, lose our sense of purpose, we retreat to an emotional comfort zone.
  3. Recovery: we start figuring out how to move out of and beyond the crisis.

Welcome to the Regression/Ecclesiastes EVERYTHING IS UTTERLY MEANINGLESS stage of lockdown. Yay! Go team!


So, how do we get to recovery. I have no idea, but here’s what I’m trying to remember:

  • Hold things lightly, give up trying to control what you can’t control. Embrace the spiritual practice of letting the wind mess up and your hair. Remember that you trust God.
  • If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest ocean, even there God will guide me and even there God will support me. Even there, even now.
  • Even the darkest nights are temporary. God is the everlasting light.
  • These are the days we practised our faith for. We have trained for this.
  • Is my endurance in need of hope? Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep moving toward him.
  • Is my hope in need of endurance? Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep moving toward him.
  • Dance more.
  • Life with God is not on hold - even though it feels like everything else is.
  • Turn all that’s good into thanks and all that’s wrong into prayer and action.
  • Every high’s been low. And every night’s seen day. Every good knows bad. Everyone happy knows sad. Everyone healed knows pain. - Lovkn Faithful to Remain

May you see the storm as a sacred invitation to otherworldly rest; to faith that doesn't the storm to end to stay with God in peace." Commoners Communion

Remember how I said I loved creating routine and structure? Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Ha! I do. I love routine and structure. For a while. 

And then, once that while of weeks/months/years has passed, I’m done. And instead of routine and structure being the trellis on which I grow, it puts limits on my thinking, it stifles my creativity and it frustrates my decision making. I love routine and structure, until I’m over it.  

And Friends, Beloved Reader, I AM OVER IT.

The Great Big Future is unknown but my day-to-day is the exact same thing. Every. Single. Day. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again.

The Calendar of Good Things is mostly pizza, Gogglebox and Sewing Bee these days. Although, I've somehow become a 1940s housewife because we got a new hoover this week and its all I can talk about. I now spend half the day wandering around the house admiring how beautiful the carpets look. screenshot_20200528-2137087282404435362683063.png

My life is routine. Resistance to wonder has been activated. But ultimate LOLZ because my word for this year is ADVENTURE. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?! (Like rain-e-ain on your wedding day)

I crawled over the start line of 2020 an exhausted mess. Having pushed the limits of my capacity through the Summer of Celebration and then on into Autumn and Christmas. Most Sundays I crawled into church wondering how on earth I’d get through the week ahead and begging God to revive me. God is faithful - I was given grace enough to make it through each day.

I realised focusing on adventure, in a year when I had none planned, would force me to slow down and approach life differently. No uprooting myself from my much loved Croydon people, no starting a new job, no big trips abroad, no living solely in the limits of my capacity. As the great Tsh Oxenrieder puts it:

Wanderlust and my longing for home are birthed from the same place: a desire to find the ultimate spot this side of heaven. When I stir soup at my stove I drift to a distant island. When I'm on the road with my backpack, my heart wanders back to my couch and my favourite cup of coffee.

My equal pull between both are fuelled by my hardwired desire for heaven on earth. And I know I'll never find it. "Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees it takes off his shoes, the rest just sit around and pluck blackberries" unless the flickering bushes compel me to remove my shoes, traveling the world will never satisfy. Neither will the liturgy of normal life back home." From At Home in the World.

tomasz-olszewski-4s7zbRR43As-unsplashIts much easier for me to find God when I’ve chosen to test my limits in a wild adventure. My real challenge is in a comfortable and (mostly) predictable life where I don’t even notice I’m happily picking blackberries and ignoring God in the bushes on fire in front of me.

I knew I needed to find the adventure in the everyday but I never imagined the everyday would be confined to the four walls of home, Tooting Common and the supermarket. How much adventure is to be found in Zoom? And no, backgrounds of the beach/mountains don’t count.

So, here we are. Day whatever, of week whatever of the absolute write-off that is 2020. Resistance to wonder has been activated but I am fighting back. Turns out, wonder is a gateway to adventure. Turns out, wonder can be a spiritual practice.

I do the same walk every lunchtime. I’ve learned to consider the grass and the Queen Anne’s Lace and the nettles and the bluebells coming and going (I’ve also learned to ignore the giant rats). My phone is full of photos of flowers and trees and blue sky. I’ve learned to pay attention to the shape of the petals and the grouping of the leaves and the texture of the bark on the conker trees. Are they not clothed in splendour? Are they not wonderfully made? (I've also decided which trees will be the most fun to climb)img_20200528_2102568980112747719861975.jpg

Turns out, there’s no room for monotony when my eyes are wide with wonder.

Do I know how the dimensions of the earth were determined? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Have I ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have I ever visited the treasuries of snow? Does the rain have a father? Who is the mother of ice? Can I hold back the movement of the stars? Can I ensure the proper sequence of seasons or guide the constellations of the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?

Questions from Job 38 (This is a poem. Do not come at me with your science and water cycles and laws of nature)

Forget the Enneagram, Myers-Brigg and any other personality testing, this notebook is the most accurate description of who I am:img_20200528_2128286275843055040856609114.jpg

Turns out, wonder is a part of life in all its fullness, learning to love the sky you're under and embracing the liturgy of the everyday.

May you come to see your ordinary-now as the great place God has you in, as the great moment God has given to you and as the great opportunity it is if only you’ll awake to its wonder." Strachan Coleman, Commoners Communion

Where are you finding adventure in lockdown?

What are you learning right now?

I ask my people this question all the time.

What am I supposed to be learning right now? I ask God this question all the time too. Somewhere along the lines I learned to look for the lesson in challenging situations. I used to think it was a super mature way to approach something difficult.

Turns out, I most often use this as a way to bargain myself out dealing with something difficult rather than embrace mature personal growth - because if you can grab hold of the lesson in the midst of the challenge, then you get to jump straight to the conclusion with less blood, sweat, tears and late night existential crisis phonecalls to your committee, right? RIGHT?! Yes please I will take the conclusion without the process.

So, you know, seen as we have no choice but to deal with these Corona Times, can we all just get on and learn our collective lesson so we can complete the level and jump forward to the end? Thanking you kindly for your cooperation.

But also, recognising what we're learning does actually make it a bit easier to deal with.

What are you learning right now?

Me? I’m learning to live in the tension of hope and disappointment.

I'm learnng to walk in trust through the Valley of the Shadow of Corona, through every real and imagined scenario of even if, even when and even though.

I’m learning to surrender my security in planning and knowing what’s coming next and instead replace it with faith in a God who is always with us.

I’m learning that time is a false concept – because March was at least 72 days long, April has only been two and even though I eat all day I’m still hungry.


I'm learning that how you frame it shapes how you deal with it. Instead of I'm-stuck-with-the-people-in-this-house, its I-get-to-spend-time-with-the-people-I-live-with. Instead of my-hair-is-in-desperate-need-of-a-cut, its I’m-growing-my-hair-out (out of style, out of shape and all the way the floor apparently). Instead of why-has-God-let-this-happen, its where-is-God-at-work-in-the-midst-of-this?

I'm learning that I picked the perfect time to borrow the LOTR extended editions – if anyone needs me, I’m somewhere in Middle Earth for the foreseeable future.

I'm learning to live with all the things I don’t know – when this will end, how this will end, how much damage it will inflict across the world, when I’ll get to see my people again, if I’ll get sick, if you’ll get sick, if we’ll all make it through, if I’ll still have a job, why God let it happen, why God hasn’t ended it yet.

I'm learning how to endure in these Corona Times.

I'm learning how to abide in these Corona Times.

I'm learning how to choose joy in these Corona Times.

I'm learning to laugh and laugh and laugh because 2017 was all about endurance, 2018 about abiding and 2019 about joy. This should be my moment. I have spent the past 3 years preparing. I should be dispensing my hard-earned wisdom for you lesser mortals at the daily briefing. Instead, I’m super-chill-this-is-totally-manageable one day and then please-God-when -will-it-all-be-over the next day.


I'm learning that when I miss my Nan’s cooking I start listening to reggae.

I'm learning that I’ve reached the point of lockdown where I will quite happily spend a couple of hours watching Britain’s Got Talent and crying along with all the sob stories: “This is for my sick Gran/my mute brother/to make my kids proud/because I was bullied.” Those producers earn their money - they manipulate my emotions so well I don’t even care.

I am learning that despite thinking I dressed for me, turns out dressing for me actually means wearing pajamas 24/7.


I am learning that as much as I like to think I'm wild and free, I LOVE routine and faced with time unconstrained I will create a new schedule. Food, exercise, church, family, friends, Steph & Rachel’s Saturday Night Musical Sing-A-Long - my lockdown planner has a time and place for it all. DO YOU NEED HELP WITH A FRAMEWORK? I CAN HELP. I WOULD LOVE TO HELP. I WILL HELP YOU.

I am learning who my neighbours are – we sit by the front window to work for 8 hours a day. We know who is going by. We get worried when Checked Shirt Man and his family don’t go for their daily walk at 12.21pm. Are they sick?! Do they need anything?! Should we go over there and find out?!

I am learning that the invitation, lockdown or not, is still ‘Hey Rach, come take a walk on the wild side.’ And I just can’t say no.

The invitation to joy, peace, love, trust - life in all its fullness. By Jenedy Paige
By Jenedy Paige

I am learning how to get through a pandemic.

What are you learning?