It’s almost the end of 2020 and if we’re honest it’s been a year like no other! This time last year I doubt anyone could have imagined Covid 19 arriving and all the changes it would bring to us. We’ve been wearing masks, many have been furloughed from work, have had two national lockdowns, Zoom has become a regular part of our lives and so much more. Sadly, there has also been many families who have loved ones become ill and in some cases they’ve died. On the day that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in the UK, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said, “2020 has been just a terrible year, hasn’t it?” In some ways he’s correct, but has it been all bad? Has there been nothing positive in our lives?
As I look back over 2020, I’ve tried to see the positives rather than the negatives. This isn’t to say that I’ve not been affected by what’s happened this year. My mental health has been a bit of a rollercoaster at times and I’ve had anxiety about using buses, wearing masks, using Zoom etc. I’ve only spoken to a handful of people outside of my immediate family since March and there have been many friends that I’ve been unable to meet up with. However, I’ve found that looking out for the positive moments each day has had a positive impact on my mental health. So what have been some of those positive moments? Here are just five:
At the start of the first lockdown, we took the decision to go for a walk every Saturday as a family. We had talked about doing regular walks at the weekend for many years, but lockdown prompted us to actually start them! Initially, it was only walk on a Saturday, but quickly a post church walk for myself and my husband became a thing too! These walks have not only helped both our physical & mental health, but have also given us time to spend together as a family. Amazingly, there have only been a few walks that have had to be cancelled due to poor weather.
One benefit of lockdown is that I’ve noticed the world around me a lot more. I’ve spent more time at home, so have watched the birds visiting the bird table. I can now recognise the song of the robin and blackbird. The sparrows and starlings can be really bullies to one another and I’ve seen many an angry confrontation between them when it comes to who should be on the bird feeders. We’ve also had a sparrowhawk come into the garden (I didn’t even realise we had sparrowhawks in this area!). I’ve noticed the seasons change in more detail than I normally do, squirrels chasing along the back fence, butterflies and bees flitting from one flower to another. On our walks we’ve watched ducks with their ducklings, deer and swans in Bushy Park, ladybirds, leaves changing colour as Autumn approached and then them falling as Winter started to arrive and flowers blooming and then fading as they then went on to produce seed heads. Noticing the world around me has been a real blessing and has been a little bit of normal life in the midst of the strange times we’re all in.
My husband & son have used puppets within church for many years, but in 2020 Peckett Puppets were born! I heard the theme song for Spring Harvest’s Big Start (the morning all age session) and thought it would be great for the puppets to perform. We contacted Spring Harvest who agreed that we could use it. We soon produced a video of “Glow” and uploaded on to YouTube. It has had just over 900 views to date. There have since been another 8 videos uploaded (with more planned) and the puppets now have a Facebook page, Twitter profile and Instagram account in addition to YouTube. Two of the videos were made initially for our church services and other videos have been used by different churches too. From having little to do with the puppets previously, I have now become the stage manager and social media manager for them. At times it has been hard work, but it has also been a lot of fun.
Having said that I wasn’t a writer and would never write anything, 2020 has been the year when I’ve started writing! I was never good at English at school, so never thought I’d write anything that could be published. I much preferred Science and Maths and it took me until the 6th form for me to get my English O Level. However, this is my 2nd blog post of the year. My first blog post was written for a friend’s blog a few weeks ago (you can find it here). Since then a few more ideas for blog posts have surfaced in my brain, so I thought it might be time to dip my toe in the world of blogging. I’ll be honest that I don’t know how good I’ll be, but I’m going to give it a go.
Going to church has always been an important part of my life, but back in March the way we went to church changed. Church buildings were closed and services (and other church meetings) went online. Going to church for a large part of 2020 has meant walking downstairs about 9.30am, sitting in my chair with a cup of tea and accessing the service via YouTube. I’ll be honest, initially it felt really strange worshipping as a group of 3. However, we soon got used to it and God was able to use those online services to teach us and speak to us. We are very grateful to all those who worked behind the scenes for approximately 7 months to bring the services to us. We went back into the church building for the first time on 1st November (ironically the day before the 2nd lockdown!). Due to restricted numbers the church livestreamed the service and I’m hopeful that this will continue in the future. Services resumed in the building again on 6th December and we will continue with a mix of ‘in building’ and ‘online’ services
Yes, 2020 hasn’t been the year we had hoped for, but there are positives. These are just five of mine. What could you include as your top five?
Image rights: © Authors own