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24 September 2021
As millions of people in Australia face ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, a few Salvos share snippets of some of the issues they’ve struggled with the most and what helps them manage what they’re going through.
I struggle with the word lockdown, so I’ve tried to create another word to describe what is happening. Learnup. This describes me relating ‘up’ to God, learning as much as I can about my relationship with him and how he wants to utilise me effectively in my every day. Family support is so important, as is walking most days, reading books, watching favourite shows and sport. I miss personal interaction with others but am so grateful for technology that enables us to still connect. As the learnup period has kept going, I have also reassessed my information intake. It’s important to not just focus on COVID-19. So many excellent things are happening. – Laurie
As a father of two teenagers, I struggle with seeing their active lives being nullified during what should be a vibrant time in their lives. My 19-year-old daughter has been unable to follow her travel dream, and her excitement about starting university life has been confined to studying in her bedroom. My son is a talented tennis player on the Australian junior circuit but has been unable to follow his dream, being reduced to practising on his local court. But, as a family, we are coping by doing daily walks on the beach, playing board games, and enjoying regular fire-pit nights.– Dean
My biggest pandemic lockdown struggle – I am now in #6 – is not hosting family get-togethers. Before lockdowns, it was a juggling act to arrange between grandkids sport, common ‘byes’, or the end of one seasonal sport before the next started. The grandchildren can no longer really connect with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Videoconferencing just doesn’t cut it. School-aged kids are fed up looking at screens for school-from-home. At best, I get a quick “Hello Nan” as they move on to something more tangible than me on yet another screen. My grandkids and I crave physical connection.
The tough times don't seem too much when I put everything into perspective. I've accepted I am to stay at home. I have quiet times alone in prayer; I find activities that give me a sense of accomplishment – finishing a book, knitting, weeding the veggie patch, cooking; and I schedule video catch-ups regularly with friends and share virtual afternoon tea. – Anne
I am amazed at the hope that comes alongside the desperate realisation that the pandemic just will not go away. The compulsion to watch the daily press conferences only adds to the heartache. The daily struggle is real, and yet not one of us is alone in this. The deep truths from Psalm 23 and other well-known scriptures have taught me that I can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. God gives me genuine hope in the middle of this messy experience. – Angela
Compassion in action
Helping people at The Salvation Army’s Melbourne Project 614 has meant being physically at work and engaging with people, with the stress of getting clients to use masks and practise social distancing. There is hard physical work, and monotony, as well as stress. But there is also joy. Compassion in action is a form of prayer.
I’m grateful for conversations and kind acts; during quarantine periods, friends and workmates dropped off food for my family. Music, nature, our dog, friends and family have all helped us stay sane. We are finding God in (isolated) community. Thank God! – Barry
My biggest struggle with lockdown, apart from the uncertainty that comes with being in and out of lockdown, is singleness. I’m okay with being on my own, but I’ve discovered that I really struggle when being home alone for long periods is forced on me! There have been times I’ve felt incredibly disconnected, so I’ve had to find ways to reconnect and keep connected. Catch-ups with friends, prayer meetings, Bible studies, survivor parties and games nights have all been carried out on Zoom, and having a bubble buddy has been a great source of comfort. – Amanda
Hope for the future
At this point in lockdown, I’m struggling to maintain hope when things don’t seem to be improving. I find that reflecting on the plight of others helps reassure me that at least I am safe, can access food and medicine, and my kids still have a future. So many parents around the world living in conflict zones see their children’s futures destroyed by violence. There’s no doubt this pandemic has negatively impacted kids, but I am comforted to know that they can still safely ride a bike in their neighbourhood, access remote education, and plan for their future. – Holly
Despite working from home and daily Zoom meetings, the silence in the house and lack of face-to-face contact with people have been the hardest part of lockdown. The loneliness at times can be overwhelming. From time to time, I allow myself a few moments to acknowledge that it is hard, and it’s okay to shed a few tears, but then it’s time to move on. I call friends and family for chats, look at what’s happening overseas and whether I can contribute in any way, and make sure that every single day I do something for someone I know is struggling. – Heather
Back to basics
This year, lockdown feels like we had only just put all our rooms back into order, and suddenly, ‘BOOM’ – every room in the house is upside down again. We are still trying. What seems to be working is coming back to the basics and getting more out of them – a good sleep, morning devotion (time with God), daily laughter, talking to friends on the phone, and not feeling guilty when we forget about a Zoom class for our child. –Sean and Lydia
Reliance on God
Is lockdown hard? Yes, absolutely! At the moment, my mother sits in a hospital bed in the United States. I would normally be on a flight there to care for her and be there. Lockdown is hard. COVID is hard. This global pandemic has immense social, cultural, and psychological effects that will be felt for a generation. We get through this as we would any other hard and difficult situation in our lives, relying on God. “Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah chapter 8, verse 10. – Bill