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As many of you in the parish will know, my daughter Amelia and I have been in isolation for the past week and continue to be until this weekend.  Amelia had her Covid test yesterday at the hall in Prince Albert (it was booked ahead of time, went quickly and the folks there were very kind!).  We are told we have to wait about 5 to 7 days for the results.  

I thought I'd share a little with you what this experience of "isolation" has been like because many of you are practicing the same and others of you may be so in the near future as we watch the case numbers rise.

If you are hoping that I am going to say something profound and wise, think again.

I've not been the happiest camper this time around.  Of course last time we were actually sick with Covid and that was one way of passing the time.  This time, even if Amelia is sick, it is has been very mild.  For that we are grateful.

Though Public Health tells me, because I have no symptoms, I am free to go to work, we at the church (from the Bishop's office on down) are taking extra precautions and so I am staying away until Amelia's negative result.  I have been taking our dog for daily walks, staying far away from others and off the busier streets.  My attempts at remaining incognito failed miserably three days ago when I misjudged my step and fell into Perry Street.  It was my ego that was mostly hurt as at least three cars witnessed the event and one stopped to help me!  (Thank you to the kind women in that van!!)

I have lots to do online - between work, emails to friends, and games of solitaire.  I've attempted to create a routine, as we are all told to do.  And yet I find myself bristling.  Wanting to go to the post office and grocery store.  Wanting to keep that "coffee at a distance on a park bench" date.  Wanting to spend time with another human being (other than Amelia, and I'm certain she feels the same way about me) in person, not over Zoom!

I have noticed lots of articles in the news about our mental health and coping over the winter months with the combination of cold weather and potential pandemic lockdowns.  It is important for us to acknowledge the struggles in this.  Certainly we do not have it very hard - I'm sitting in a warm and safe house, can order my groceries online, can be entertained by the TV and go for walks in this lovely town.  This does not, however, negate the reality that the demands this pandemic has placed on us challenge us.

I'm not going to tell you, in this little blog, how to cope.  I'm fairly certain you've heard everything I've heard.  I do want to say that it is OK to be frustrated, bored, bristling.  It is OK to feel grumpy about not being able to do all the things you'd normally do this time of year.  It is OK to feel sad that Thanksgiving isn't going to look like most years and isn't stirring up deep feelings of gratitude.

What I am learning (having a hard time learning) is to be OK with the small moments of beauty, peace and gratitude that sneak into every day.  I am learning to let that be enough, because it is enough.  

Like the walk with the dog and spectacular colours in the foliage right now.

The little vase of sunflowers left on our front porch to cheer us.

The root beer dropped off for Amelia.

The kind strangers who stopped their van to make sure I was OK as I lay on Perry Street.

The delightful film we discovered on Netflix that entertained us and made us laugh (Enola Holmes - watch it!!).

The good book that I am reading.

I am learning to hold onto these small bits of beauty, peace and gratitude and let them be the thing I remember as I fall asleep at night.  Let us all pray that God will open our eyes to see the small pin pricks of light that are the stars in the night sky.  It will be enough to sustain our hope in these darker months.