Mind the gap - how to fill our lockdown lives
Regular contributor Jane Clamp gives us an insight into how she has been filling the gap in our lives created by the lockdown.
Have you ever considered the dash or hyphen between the dates of birth and death on a headstone? Whether the life commemorated was a long or short one, it’s what a person does in the gap between the two dates that carries the most significance.
When we think of a gap, there are several things that may come to mind – perhaps a span that needs to be crossed. As the picture above illustrates, that could be as simple as watching our footing when leaving a train. Wider expanses would need a bridge; but, whatever the context, a gap implies that we need to take extra care.
In our homes, if we remove some items – perhaps during a clear-up – we leave a gap. Think how empty our rooms feel when we take down the Christmas decorations. Even things that have been around only a short while can leave an emptiness when they are gone. Mostly, when we find a gap, we quickly fill it with something else.
In my last house, the end of the kitchen worktop attracted mail, pamphlets and all sorts of random items that no one knew what to do with. Every time I cleared it, it left a beautiful space which just cried out for something to be put down on it. It was a battle I couldn’t win.
During this time of lockdown against Covid-19, we all have gaps where there used to be activities and people. Even those who are still working have the absence of their regular commute and the company of colleagues. My own diary is eerily clear. My planned speaking engagements near and far are postponed, with swathes of preparation time culled accordingly. For this on-the-go woman, it’s the oddest thing not having to check whether I’m free on a certain day, because I know that I am!
Never one to waste time, I would have thought that this gift of extra hours would be easy to manage. All the jobs I could catch up on! The reading I could do, to say nothing of the writing! But, in fact, the global crisis affected my personal world too, as I’m sure we’ve all discovered. I couldn’t concentrate. My attention wandered. I found myself sitting in the garden just… well, sitting. I was in the gap rather than straddling it. Instead of dashing from one thing to another, I was still. And it feels peaceful.
I hope that none of us pings back into the lives we had before. I pray that we learn new rhythms that include stillness and sitting and thinking, inviting God into the space instead of filling it with our own “stuff.”
This is not just a time of change. It’s time to change.
The image above is courtesy of Pixabay.com
Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a devotional on the subject of miscarriage, published by SPCK in August 2018. A member of the Association of Christian Writers, she writes for local and national radio. In her spare time she is an interior designer and musician.
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