So I can’t sleep.
Unsurprising really, as we are T-Minus three days from moving house and the government just removed our childcare. At 10pm. Which was nice!
We got the keys on Wednesday; took the kids, had a run round, and ate fish and chips in the embarrassingly colossal garden. Later, a friend who also happens to be a man and also happens to have a van, took me to Ikea.
This being the queue to get in, we jumped straight back into said van and drove home again! Note to all: Do not attempt IKEA at 7PM- any day of the week!
So today, we tried a different hour. (4.45PM is the key, in case you’re interested!) No queue, pleasant meandering, and a record-breaking haul at the Bargain Corner. We take 2 trolley loads of homewares and a couple of precariously balanced chairs to the checkout when I discover that, in my haste to leave the house, I had forgotten to pack my purse. Shock horror! (Remembered my mask, forgot my purse- such are days like these.)
At least I wasn’t on my own, right?!
Still… putting triple digits on someone else’s credit card isn’t quite the same as owing them a pint now, is it?! Praise God for electronic transfers!
Anyho… After tonight’s rather abrupt announcement that households in our region are no longer allowed to meet indoors with other households, I have three, maybe four, thoughts keeping me awake tonight:-
1. I just went to IKEA with a member of a different household, I touched stuff and I put it back. I am part of the problem! This very inconvenient change is down to people like me. I feel so wretched!
2. I just went to IKEA… I touched stuff… then I got flustered at the tills, was carrying too much stuff on a leaning tower of flatpack and forgot to sanitize on the way out. We loaded up the van, got giddy over our bargains and it wasn’t until I sat curling my lip later that I remembered all the deathly germs on my hands! Who forgets to sanitise during a pandemic?!
Obviously, at one o’clock in the morning, I now accept that IKEA is the epicentre of the North West; so I probably have a temperature already, almost certainly have a dry cough by now and am 99% sure it will end in death. Death by flatpack. Imagine! Worst of all, you will all know that I spent the last few weeks of my sad little life obsessing over picture frames and table cloths. Trappings for a house that I will never get to live in… doomed to be a sermon illustration for all eternity!
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, my friends- it’s not too late for you!
3. Seriously though… presuming removals are still allowed and the house move goes ahead… how on earth do you move with three small children, without losing your head?! (Answers on a postcard. First class stamp- we haven’t time to wait for pigeons.)
4. Finally… Before this freak out, I took my purchases to the new place and had a good pray in each room. Besides protection for our kids, for joy and a blessed family life… I also prayed for hospitality. I envisioned each room and how we have designed it purposefully to host and entertain and feed and facilitate. The spare beds, the extending tables, the bench seating so we can fit more in. It excited me… and now it saddens me.
For all we have generally loved lockdown as a chance to slow down and regroup; to focus on our own family and build some better rhythms… we are still, at the end of the day, community people; called by a relational God into a ministry of hospitality. Having had a rest, having had space, feeling ready to get up and start again… This second flirtation with lockdown feels like a much bigger blow than the first.
How much longer until we can get back to our wider family? Our Church family? Our friends who may as well be family? How much longer until life develops at the very least a new “normal”?!
This virus may not have taken us six feet under as of yet, but tonight, I tell you- I’m six feet over it!
Just… do one, Covid. Go on. Get Gone!
And all God’s people said… Amen.
Peace and love to you all xx