People keep asking me what I have learnt from this period of lockdown, COVID and pandemic. I think its fair to say that we have all gained something from lockdown – more time with the family (whether we like it or not), more time to practice a hobby or skill (like watching TV or gaming), learning to home school the kids (but secretly not knowing what their Math work is about), or getting more familiar with the countryside. I moved into the Rectory about two days before lockdown. I’ve had time to paint and decorate it six times over!! We must all now have the cleanest houses in the world and our gardens fit for royalty. But what have I learnt?
Well the first thing I’ve learnt is that I do actually have time to walk the dogs. I think before I made excuses that I was “too busy” or “too tired”. Lockdown has reminded me how precious my dogs are. Living alone they provide company! They deserve a decent walk. And to kill two birds with one stone, I’ve been able to explore and enjoy the beauty of the countryside at the same time.
Second. I’ve learnt that the closure of our church buildings is a great loss to me and to our villages. The comments of sadness at their closure have overflowed. Their beautiful sacred space is missed and longed for. Maybe, when they open again, we can all visit more often.
Third. I’ve learnt how fragile and vulnerable we humans are – all of us. In our age of medicine and science, when we think we are above any illness or disease, this has left us baffled. Thankfully, our minds to create, invent and discover means there will be a vaccine soon. Until then, we are at the hands of the virus, so we must stay safe even as things are relaxed.
Fourth. I’ve learnt that humans are beautiful (on the whole!) The welcome I have received in various ways has been wonderful. People have been creative in their approach to welcoming their new vicar and in helping and supporting others. The FoodBank is just one of those ways – checking on vulnerable neighbours is another. The way we stood and clapped on a Thursday. The way we became a community and looked out for one another – and realised how essential that is for us.
These are just a few things I’ve learnt – I’m sure you’ve learnt more. At the heart of it all – and more important than decorating the house or tidying the garden – is the health of our community. I don’t just mean health as in virus-free. I mean the well being of all our residents, the happiness of every home and the coming together of people to create a place people can call home. That is what I’ve learnt above all.
The Revd Carl Melville
Rector, The Bacton Benefice
Serving the Parishes of Bacton with Wyverstone, Cotton, Wickham Skeith, Old Newton and Gipping
The Rectory, Church Road, Bacton, IP14 4LJ
Tel: 01449 781650