Last week in Melbourne we hit 250 days in Covid lockdowns since March 2020. That’s a long time, and only those in Melbourne can truly understand the magnitude of that number. That is 250 out of 558 days. Just reflect on that for a moment. I think it’s been the hardest challenge of my life.
Learning from Home
My kids started their 37th week of ‘remote learning’ this week. Keep in mind the academic year is about 40 weeks. By the time we head back to school, they will have spent almost a whole year of remote learning. ONE WHOLE YEAR!! A year away from their classroom, classmates and ‘normal’ routines.
This time has left a lasting impact on me. I suffer from anxiety like never before. I use to be a very relaxed and easy-going person (“unflappable bird” as one of my colleagues says). But now I worry- about my kids, if I will see my family again, will we ever have a proper holiday and some days if I’ll ever be able to have lunch out again. I never once have worried about getting sick, but 19 months of uncertainties, stress and changed plans has left a mark on me. I wonder if the grief and sadness that I feel will ever leave.
Things that used to wash over me now trigger my grief and can change my days. I am working on myself. I have been seeing someone to help me address all these crazy emotions I feel but be aware that if you have friends and family in Victoria there is a good chance that they are truly struggling. An off-hand remark or sharing your opinion on related issues could send them back to bed because it feels like you aren’t thinking about what those things mean for them.
For us, those in our house who can be are vaccinated. It has been hard to see friends and family encouraging others not to get vaccinated. The stories that you hear of those who have been sick, of families separated by borders, or people losing jobs are so sad. Personally, I got vaccinated to love my neighbours, and not just the ones next door but those in my suburb, my city, my state and my country. I feel like it is what Jesus would do. Our country is so divided right now and that just doesn’t feel very Australian.
Gratitude and hope
But through all of this, I am grateful and I am thankful, even when I feel sad. I am thankful for technology that means my kids can still learn. And that I can still share Jesus with the kids in our church. We have a warm home (even if the carpet is crazy). Both Mike and I have kept our jobs and been able to provide for our family, bless others and help those who are in need. I am thankful for great friends who are willing to chat and for my family who hear my rants and raves. I am thankful that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to journey with us and comfort us in our sadness and grief.
I pray that one day I will look back at this and know that I got through, that happiness and joy are greater than sadness and grief. I pray that you each will think about how you can love your neighbour and show compassion to others. Don’t forget to reach out to those still stuck in lockdown in both Victoria and New South Wales.
Naomi is a wife to Michael and mum to 4 crazy kids. She is the assistant Children and Families Minister at St Alfred’s Anglican Church and has been a Connect Leader for MOPS Australia for the past 5 years.
Please reach out for help if you need it.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Or contact your local health service.