We can be so ignorant and oblivious to the things that we claimed we wanted all along. I remember last year and at the beginning of the year making small talks with folks at work – that there was no slowdown leading up to Christmas and that the year had begun with a bang of tasks and project deliverables. I’m sure we have all said the same cliché – “Where has the time gone?” or “Is it me, or does time seems to go faster every year?”.
I experienced a slow and lingering mental burn-out last year – and I’m steadily climbing out of the rut. Having two co-authored journal papers published early in the year also helps to keep my spirits up – that all the tiling-the-land and the hard work last year didn’t come to nothing. At times, I wish I could hit a pause and do a private realignment. However, how can one do that when everybody else is sprinting, taking the baton and wanting to pass it on to you?
Then came along a microscopic entity called Covid-19 that forces everything to a halt – not just to an organisation, but to the whole world. While work progresses and life tries its best to trundle along, it forces everybody to be confined and to press the restart button. The answer to the wishes that we said we wanted all along.
It is a disconcerting time – it’s as if something had yanked the rug on which we individually stand. Some lost their loved ones, some lost their jobs and the security that they enjoyed before the pandemic hit. I remember a time in 2008 when I left my job at Adelaide Bank. I was given a choice to continue working for the Bendigo Bank by moving over to Bendigo – or take my redundancy and press a restart to my career. I picked the latter – and for the next three months before I found a new job, I was left in a holding pattern. I remember walking around Rundle Mall in Adelaide, watching the shoppers laughing and getting on with life – oblivious to the challenges that I was facing. A grieving that I had to have. Then came the appreciation that this was a time for me to rethink, savour, rebuild, and re-centre. I remember telling my friends at church shortly after I found another job, that the three months ended up being one of the most personal rewarding periods of my life. A detox of the mind.
Now, we are all forced to have this period of pause: a period of working individually in isolation – perhaps rather than looking at this period through the shade of worry and fear, we should all appreciate the retreat and the pause. We should follow the directives to maintain physical distancing and follow the government’s advice and orders and I hope we’ll all be there at the end – safe and sound. I don’t know what is waiting ahead of us once the pandemic is over but this is the time when I hold on to my faith. David wrote this in Psalm 37:25-26, “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.”
When the clock starts ticking again and time starts to fly again at an even greater velocity, perhaps we would all release a collective sigh. With a wistful look, we’d say, “I wish we could all have the time to pause again …”
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.