When Strangers become Neighbours

bears
Bears watching over the neighbourhood

It’s two years since I last wrote on this site. Two years of an inward journey trying to make sense of the shifts in my thinking. Two years of inward pilgrimage-ing as it were. That as well as having painful left shoulder surgery and building a new home. But now in this unprecedented global situation of Covid 19, I need to reach out. Like many introverts, I find writing so much easier than talking.

How to make sense of these crazy days? In New Zealand, where I live, whole households are on ‘home detention’ to keep them safe, to save lives. The country’s economy is shut down so that citizens can remain safely in their homes and not expose one another to Covid 19.

We’re having beautiful weather. Balmy autumn days with cool evenings so that sleep is possible, and warm enough sun to entice us outdoors. Yes, we are encouraged here in New Zealand to go for a walk, or to ride a bike  as exercise is beneficial for our mental health as well as our bodies. I am grateful we can venture outdoors. Looking out at the beautiful Coromandel harbour, it’s hard to realise that there is danger lurking for so many. We don’t have ambulance sirens going passed our home- like so many others do -constant reminders that potential danger hangs in the very air we breathe.

There are  other dangers lurking too. Homes are not always safe and friendly places. Cooped up together, children fretful and not capable of understanding the lockdown situation, tempers fray. Hopefully, there are people watching out for these folk.

We’re all being encouraged to watch out for each other. To be kind to one another. And people are (mostly) responding positively to these messages from our leaders. Strangers who have lived  in the same street, for months and even years, are becoming neighbours and greeting one another across fences which once separated us and enhanced the belief that we are independent of each other. We know differently now. We need one another. And so we greet each other as we pass at the regulation distance of two metres as we take our daily walks. We (mostly) wait patiently in the supermarket queues again standing at the required two metre distance, and we are making new friends here too.

Will we remember these lessons once the danger of Covid 19 has diminished in our memories? What are the stories that children will take forward into their futures? Maybe that life is hard and uncertain for that is part of our reality. That we need to look out for each other and that the days of tribalism are now gone. We are one across the globe as together we look to contain the current threat to the well being of so many lives and economies.

Words of the English mystic, Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) have been sustaining me.

I shall make all things well; and you shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well.

(Norwich, Julian. n.d. English translation: Elizabeth Spearing. 1998. Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love. London, UK: Penguin Books.)

And why the bear photo? In New Zealand some wise person suggested we place teddy bears in our windows to cheer the children who pass our property. So many children have  heard the ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ story. The bears, instead of dwelling in their dark caves, have come out and joined our households reminding us that :

We’re Not Scared of any virus and that all shall be well despite the daily news which might suggest the contrary.

Stay well and virus free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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