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Today Michel Kaiser, from St. Mary’s Conwy, reflects on the change in his University working life as a result of the pandemic …
Pilgrim’s Progress by William Blake
bydd ef yn sicr o gadw dy lwybrau’n union.
Diarhebion 3: 6
Michel Kaiser writes that disrupting our lives can be good:
COVID-19 has disrupted the world as we knew it. Most of us dislike change, but sometimes an enforced ‘pause’ in one’s life can be refreshing, giving us time to reflect on the things that normally we don’t appreciate in our day-to-day lives. Two weeks prior to ‘lock-down’ my University campus was on ‘work from home’ status with only essential personnel allowed on site. Initially, working from home was wonderful. No more commuting has meant there is time to have a constitutional walk before work and time to eat lunch as a family without the need to ‘rush back to work’, because work is now just upstairs. We have been blessed with the most amazing weather, which means taking a tea break has been a delightful chance to relax in the garden. Not using the car has been a joy, although the lack of traffic may have made us less alert – I know that I have ‘switched off’ on occasion.
Despite these many positive aspects of lock-down, the lack of interaction with people, places, and things, takes its toll. I am fortunate in that I can work effectively from home thanks to technology. The reduction in travel means that my time is more productive. However, ‘being’ with people is important. Body language is a vital means by which we communicate, and it is the ‘un-said’ gestures that mean the difference between ‘sympathy’ and ‘indifference’. Email, text, and social media, are cold mediums of communication, and hence extra special care is needed in crafting the wording of any message, given that we have no understanding of the personal lock-down circumstance of our colleagues.
Zoom calls are now my daily modus operandi, and provide an intriguing ‘view’ into the lives of colleagues with whom we have only work contact. Beards have been grown, hair is literally being ‘let down’, and I have sprouted a Mohawk hair tuft after my daughter applied the hair clippers with delight. The video calls provide glimpses into the life behind the person and take us out of the bubble of our own world. Might this insight make us more understanding and caring individuals when we resume a more normal life, by exposing us to the individual circumstances of others?
Lock-down reminds me of John Bunyon’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The journey will be different for each individual, each with its own challenges, but gradually with time the burden will become lighter until we reach the end of the journey, when we may be enriched and renewed by the experience. If you think about it, Jesus was probably the biggest disruptor in history … challenging every facet of our lives … Amen!
yng nghanol ansicrwydd y byd cyfnewidiol hwn,
boed i’th gariad dorri trwodd,
ac i neges ye Efengyl ddwyn cyfeiriad newydd,
a’r sicrwydd hwnnw na all neb ond tydi ei roi.
in the uncertainties of this ever-changing world,
may your love break through
and the message of the Gospel bring a new sense of direction,
an inner peace
and the assurance that you alone can give.
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