Being Positive in a Surreal World

Being Positive

Hello and how has your week been? Things are very odd, aren’t they? I keep reminding myself that this has happened before, with the 1918 Flu epidemic—I just wasn’t around to experience it. We have had epidemics before, and they passed, and one day things will become normal again. ‘Normal’ feels very precious, doesn’t it?

Have you been personally affected by the virus? So far, although I know of friends-of-friends who have had the virus (in various degrees of severity) no one in my immediate circle has caught the virus. Which means it all feels a little surreal, and the main impact on my day to day life is the government directives rather than the actual virus. I have stopped watching the news—other than the headlines, because I find it rather depressing. There are too many discussions about things that are going wrong, the worries that people have. These are very real, and I don’t want to suggest otherwise, but I find I can only cope with so much horrid stuff at once, so I limit what I watch. I certainly ignore any headline with the word ‘could’ in it. Too much dire speculation. In fact, I find the most interesting news are the simple stats, with no commentary at all. I found a good link: worldometers  

Worth bearing in mind when viewing stats, is that normal flu deaths average about 17,000 in the UK each year. So although covid-19 is worse (because everyone needs hospital help at the same time, and hospitals cannot cope) the mere numbers are not as scary as they seem.

However, there is a lot that is rather special. When I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, everything seemed scary/unreal at first. Gradually, God taught me to live in the present, to notice lovely things about ‘now’ and to leave the future to him. I cannot reassure you about the future, because none of us knows what that will hold, but I can tell you some lovely things about the present. I look outside at the spring flowers, the squirrels bouncing around, the chickens wandering round the garden…

Now, one challenge is shopping. I am shopping for my household (currently 5 people) plus my mother, plus random neighbours of my mother who give her their shopping requests. These requests tend to be very specific: ‘4 conference pears but only if they are ripe’. As they are isolated at home, they have no idea how impossible some of these requests are. I expect they think I am rather tardy/stupid when completely the wrong food arrives. So far, they have been too polite to say anything. I wander round the shop in a complete muddle, trying to juggle different lists and remember what I wanted myself.

One mistake was mentioning to Husband that I was having trouble finding tinned tomatoes. Every time he leaves the house now, he manages to return with tins of tomatoes. I have no idea where he’s finding them—some are very odd varieties. I keep telling him we are fine for tomatoes, but it seems to have become lodged in his brain, it’s like one of those nightmares where you open every cupboard, and each one is full of tomatoes. . . or perhaps you don’t have that nightmare?

I do sort of enjoy shopping now. True, it was disorientating at first, when I popped down for milk and there was none, of any kind, in the shops. But now I go expecting to not find things, and it’s a nice surprise when things are back on the shelves. This is due to the supermarket staff, who are being rather wonderful. Let’s face it, I doubt if any of the cashiers and shelf-stockers previously saw their work as a vocation. And yet there they are, risking all the customer germs, dutifully working so we can eat. When I went down today, there were queues outside, and they were allowing people into the shop gradually: one out, one in. What a hassle for them, yet they were incredibly polite and cheerful, trying to keep us all safe. Inside, I could see them wiping down baskets between each customer, washing their hands, doing their best to be as germ-free as possible.

I could of course list all the other wonderful people: the medics, the bus drivers, the teachers—so many people who are risking their own health to keep the country going. Personally, I think it’s rather marvellous.

Have you found it hard to keep track of the days? With everyone working at home, every day is very similar. I find some of the online conference things help, and some of my normal activities are now continuing in a virtual world. You have to be careful to remember when you are on camera though, I have seen a few mistakes (the worst one being a woman who took her phone to the loo and everyone on the conference call could see her!) Most churches have some sort of virtual service, and we sat round last Sunday and watched our old pastor from New Jersey preaching (I think he was in his basement!) Thankfully, he wasn’t wearing his pyjamas, which most people working from home seem to do (or maybe that’s just in my house). If you want to tune in next Sunday, the link is here

We also watched our UK service online. The link is Here

Both pastors are doing their best not to look like they’re making a hostage video! They are mostly succeeding…

One of the best things for me, is the jokes spinning around the internet. I think some of my isolated relatives spend all day sourcing hilarious memes to send. Here are a few of my favourites:


There is also lots of useful information among the scaremongering—you just have to check the source. My understanding of how viruses work is growing—did you know that there are different degrees of infection? So, if you have very slight exposure (maybe one person coughs near you on the street) then your level of infection, and therefore your likely illness, will be slight. However, if you mix with several people carrying the virus, you will have a higher rate of infection and therefore be more ill. The correct term is ‘viral load.’ This means even if you are all in the same family, it is worth isolating ill people, to limit the infection (don’t think that because you all have the virus, you should all sit round watching telly together — you can add to each other’s infection.) Interesting huh? It also means our medical staff, who will have lots of exposure to the virus from various sources, are very much at risk, and therefore very deserving of our admiration.

I hope you are finding some happy things among all the chaos. Take care—and wash your hands!

Love, Anne x

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