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One of the consequences of the current lockdown and other measures associated with the pandemic has been that many things have slowed down. Whilst many things have come to a halt, many more are being done at a much slower pace. Probably the best example of this has been the weekly shop at a supermarket which many are now getting used to. A new routine sees us patiently join a queue that snakes around the car park. Keeping our distance, guided by the painted or tape markings on the floor we all stand in line. Occasionally we might pass comment to someone in front or behind, but it generally seems to be a quiet period.
As I stood in the queue last week, I was struck by how many people were stood heads bowed, glued to their phone screens. I was also struck at how the silence was periodically broken only by the sound of the birds, which seemed much louder than the odd car that came or went. As I looked closer to see where the birds were, I was able to spot a nest high up in one of the trees. Looking even closer I could spot at least four different types of bird in the trees. At one point I even had to be encouraged to move along in the queue!
But it struck me that, pandemic or not, the trees and birds have always been there, however, me being so wrapped up in the everyday rush of my ‘normal’ life I hadn’t been seeing it. I realised that I’ve probably missed several of the important parts of the season of spring that I take for granted and only notice in passing in any other year. The daffodils have come and gone, the blossom is now at the point where it is falling to give way to the leaves and eventual fruit on the trees, and of course new lambs are filling the fields.
I began to think about what else I might take for granted and just push to the side, because I’m ‘too busy?’ If I think too hard the list could become pretty endless and I might be in danger of becoming too critical of myself! But the secret has got to be in asking the question of: “What could, or should, I reasonably give more time to?”
In most cases we should able to decide what makes me busy, but where to focus? For me it has to be the time I give to prayer. How quickly or hastily do I, for example, recite the daily prayer of the church? How often do I stop and appreciate the natural, God created, world around me?
What about you? What do you want to give more time to?
Deacon Ian Black