Well, it’s fair to say that this month hasn’t turned out how I anticipated! I’m pretty sure that’s the case for many of us as we’ve dealt with cancellations, lockdowns, and a lot of changes to everyday life that we could probably never have predicted even at the start of the month.
When I was a child, some of the books I loved the most were from the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton. (I know that’s quite common among British people, but I have no idea if overseas readers will have heard of them!)
The books are set in a girls’ boarding school in the 1950s, and as a child they were my escape and my comfort. They were full of exciting adventures, midnight feasts, and several funny and relatable characters, and they were set in a world where, in the end, truth and justice always triumphed.
At the start of this week, just as the UK went on lockdown, I heard that a TV series had been made of Malory Towers. It was due to be released at the start of April, but, because of the lockdown, the whole series has been released early online.
I realise that I am way older than the target audience for this series, but it has been fun to remember the books and watch the stories brought to life, and I know I’m not alone in welcoming a little bit of joy and nostalgia as Malory Towers becomes a comfort and escape for many of us once again!
Do you ever look back and feel like God must have been laughing at your carefully-made plans?
At the start of this month I was geared up for busyness. New ventures and additional responsibilities meant that I knew I was going to have to take time management seriously, so I was excited to read Off The Clock by Laura Vanderkam.
As I look at an almost empty diary it seems that I may not have the chance to put all that I’ve learned into practice for a while, but, on the other hand, a time to pause can also be a time to begin forming good habits before the busyness resumes.
The book is full of helpful insights.
“Time is finite, so we must make smart choices about it. But time is also abundant: there is enough for anything that truly matters.”
Vanderkam suggests tracking your time for a week so that you know where it goes; then taking time each week to set goals, and each day to identify three priorities to focus on. Investing time in relationships and things that bring us joy, finding small ways to make the day memorable, and avoiding cramming our calendars with activity are other approaches she advises.
I found this a really helpful book. It provides plenty to reflect on as well as lots of practical advice, and there are definitely strategies I want to adopt, especially when life gets busy again.
All I can say is that one thing this introvert has discovered this month is that she values social contact way more than she realised!
Although I’ve been well-connected with phone calls, Zoom chats and lots of social media (for which I’m very grateful) there is something special about actual face-to-face contact, and the general lack of it has made those little moments when it is possible something to treasure:
Passing a friend on the street – you know you can’t stop to talk but just a friendly wave and a “hello” mean a lot.
Having a woman from church join the supermarket queue just behind me – it was fun to have an actual real life conversation (from a distance) as we waited to enter the store.
When normal service is resumed, I think I will treasure a lot of things I’ve probably taken for granted!
I’m not even going to try to guess.
This month has been one of constant change. Just when I’ve thought I’ve adjusted to one thing, something else has changed it all again.
I’m taking on board the words my pastor shared with us this morning and finding comfort in the fact that God knows what’s ahead even when we don’t:
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 The Message)
What about you? How has this month been for you? Feel free to share a highlight or a prayer request in the comments.