Living in a Pandemic
My goodness, the days have stretched into weeks and now the weeks into a month plus. Lockdown and enforced hibernation seems to be the way of the world today. In writing this blog for Christ Church, I reflect on the ‘coping’ positives and not so positive aspects that have transpired in my life over the last six weeks. Should we call it ‘creative solitude’because one must be creative during times like this? And I certainly obey the rules of social distancing, use alcohol gel, and wear face-gear that looks like I am out to rob a bank when in public.
After Thailand and the world went from full steam to barely crawling in the course of a week and for the extended period we’re now experiencing, I put some thought into how to spend my days and evenings most effectively and beneficially. Considering this period to be a ‘negative’ couldn’t be part of my plan so positive thoughts and actions had to be the norm.
Eating seemed to initially take up a good bit of time, my goodness I wish I had purchased stock in Lays potato chips, but then I figured I would end up bigger than a bear and had to get moving. During the now absent ‘normal’ life, 1.5 hours were spent 5 days a week exercising but the gym is now shuttered. So what was the alternative, I started my current routine of a daily 2 hour early morning walk … these ventures off the beaten path have been thoroughly enjoyable and what great memories I will have. My journeys have taken me on so many different routes on and off Sukhumvit Road. Covering 5+ miles a day I’ve discovered beautiful Buddhist temples, Christian churches and even buildings dedicated to Christ, vegetable gardens in the center of town, Muslim mosques and out of the way groceries and food stalls staffed by great people. A good morning here and a Sawadii Tong Chow there generally gets a smile and positive response. Great stuff. Also if anyone needs information on the Saen Sap canal and the boat taxi schedule, ask me.
One added benefit of these sojourns is discovering new restaurants to visit after everything is back in operation. Greek food is a favorite of mine and the Avra Greek Restaurant was discovered on Soi 33, Love Me Tender French cuisine on Soi 39 and Je Ngor Thai and Tae Chiew cuisine on Soi 20 to mention a few. And thank goodness for the Thai takeaway at the end of my street. A life saver! They make the best chicken fried rice.
Positive Kent, do the positive, focus on the things that will benefit you and others. The enforced lockdown time has been used for reflection, understanding, reading and yes, even cleaning. One of the most positive lockdown aspects is the time available for me to regularly read the Bible, surf the internet for expanded explanations and overview on Biblical events and history, which has made me reflect on what’s really important and how I can be a better person. The Diocese of Singapore’s suggested pre-Easter readings and devotional plan got me started and how uplifting to read of people’s problems and how they were overcome through prayer and through Jesus Christ. We need this now more than ever.
And like many of you, being away from family and friends is difficult. This brings the occasional feeling of loneliness but we know, through Christ, those we miss are with us in spirit and love. For me … being unable to celebrate my Mother’s 99th birthday as she was 8,000 miles away, in lockdown herself, made me anxious but then I knew she wouldn’t like that … so as American Southerners do, I perked up, put a little Kentucky bourbon over ice and gave her a call. She was in great form and presents and cards came from many friends and family. She knew I wanted to be there and was in spirit; we had many laughs, caught up on the news and shared memories. A good birthday all round.
And during this time, you may have found the same, one thinks of friends not always contacted and you begin to reconnect. Skype, Zoom and WhatApps really make the world a smaller place and in a very positive way. I’ve talked with folks I haven’t seen in a coon’s age, enjoyed reminiscing old forgotten stories and even attended a virtual party or two. We can and should make the lockdown a positive.
Oh! and how I love to travel, experience new things, understand different cultures and explore. Little did I realize this was and is possible right outside my front door. Everything I enjoy is available right here and I don’t have to fly a long distance to experience great new adventures. It’s here in the neighborhoods around my home. Though long haul travel is out for the time being, my travels still continue.
One endeavor undertaken has been to obtain refunds for a trip already paid for which didn’t happen … my Australia trip to Adelaide to visit friends and then on to Coober Pedy to stay in the old underground opal mine hotel. Most hotels have refunded deposits but airlines are a different story. Every day we read sad stories of not just travel companies and organizations going bankrupt but so so many businesses.
Think of all the people out of work, the companies closing up shop, the rents and mortgages which can’t be paid, the peoples’ need for food and medicines. And it is back to the drawing board for so many. Very sad! Giving to good causes, NGOs and charities is important and Christ Church Bangkok helps others to help others. Did you know that Christ Church tithes 10% of all funds collected to a number of Bangkok organizations that work with the needy, the poor and those without? … my feeling is that giving now is so more important than ever for so many are ‘coping’ with enormous difficulties in a situation never before experienced.
What will the future bring, what is the ‘new normal’, when is freedom of movement going to be fully restored, how can we continue to be a ‘positive’ within the Church and general community, how does OUR CHURCH reopen and when … these are a few of things I think about. But one thing I know for sure is that our Lord is standing by us, He sent Norman and Sue here for a right good purpose, and I believe we are a closer Church community today than we were before. How wonderful to build on that when things do return to ‘normal’! God bless each of you.