So our lockdown ends today. After months at home with our movements being circumscribed to a 5km radius, things will become a bit more normal beginning this week.
I’m looking forward to spending time with family and friends again, and going out for a meal to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday which both occured last week.
But I’m going to miss the easier pace of life in lockdown, the quieter traffic, the tidier house and garden, and the sight of people enjoying our local parks and bush trails and winding neighbourhood streets.
For most of us this time of forced deprivation has revealed what we care about the most, and what we need to work hard to make space for in our busy lives going forward.
This has been a good, if sometimes difficult year. One big thing that happened for me came just before the lockdown, around May or just after Pentecost. I began to read a commentary on St Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle by the English Carmelite writer Ruth Burrows (Sr Rachel Gregory OCD is her real name). It was the set text for a faith conversation small group I belong to.
One of the big things that stays with me from that is Ruth’s description of a certain stage in a person’s life which sees ‘the end of dissipation and wasted time’.
She didn’t mean this in a joyless way, or as a matter of exemplary time management, but a gift from God to a person who has been trying to orient herself to Christ for a long time. It means greater freedom and peace, to know ever more clearly what we are here for and to do our part. But it does require some effort, to show we really want the gift, I guess.
Following lockdown and another 40s birthday, it’s fair to say all of my different hopes for the next year centre on the hope of this gift. That between now and next October, my time becomes more God’s time.