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I, like so many other people, am trying to make sense of all we are living through.
The overwhelming tragedy is that we are at the mercy of this vile coronavirus. Rather than living through it, people are dying through it.
I am in the realm of those being shielded as I have a pre-existing medical condition and am seemingly more liable than most to become very ill if I were to catch corona. This threat does not encourage me!
I appreciate enormously the help and support from my family and also the way the community is responding to all manner of needs and opportunities to show our love and care to one another.
One of the challenges I have had to face is that some of the reporting in the media, while rightly informing us of the triumphs and the tragedies, is short on encouragement for those of us who need more reassurance than the statistics indicate as to the likelihood of developing COVID-19.
I find myself losing perspective on the future outcomes. I have been having panic attacks and heightened stress levels. There are days when I can’t allow myself to watch the news and endless programmes on the subject.
I have never had so much of what seems like a post-traumatic stress reaction. I applaud the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who in a recent interview spoke openly about his mental health journey and how depressed he was last year and is now taking anti-depressants.
People are perceived as weak or needing to pull themselves together when they have a mental health issue. Archbishop Welby’s response is: ‘There is nothing pathetic about it. It is no more pathetic than being ill in any other way. And we just need to get over that.’
There are a number of issues facing the world which seem to be making a call to act more robustly to bring attention to these dangerous and fragile events.
George Floyd was seen by people round the world having the air squeezed out of his lungs by a policeman to the point of death. Suddenly there erupted a movement driven by anger and years of racial hatred and discrimination that swept through towns and cities, not just in the USA but across the world.
The coming of coronavirus and the emotional fever along with the protests following George Floyd’s death stand as two markers in history which could well be a tipping point as both would appear to be uncontrollable.
I don’t know what to think about the way life is and will be for months and years. I try not to absorb the negative and concentrate on the opportunities for church and community to work together to our mutual good.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:3
Together may we know the deep peace that only comes from God.
Rev Ian M McFarlane, Oban Baptist Church.