Rae Litting, New South Wales Regional Meeting

I have read so many articles lately by absolute saints who seem to be enjoying the lock down.  These people are re-examining their lives, learning to bake, repairing their houses, discovering how to do wonderful things on-line.  They are “self-isolating”.  I am not.  I am isolated against my will. I can see the need for it, but I don’t have to like it.

It’s not just that I don’t want to bake or clean my house, and I have a very small garden.  I hate doing things on-line.  And I do not wish to examine my life and get to know myself better.  I fear I will discover that I am a cranky old woman and not a nice person to know.  How will this help?  I have done my best to amuse myself indoors and I have not been very successful.  I have read a number of books, most of which did not speak to my condition.  I have completed numerous jigsaw puzzles.  I am a grand master of Free Cell.  I haven’t that much time left in this life and I am wasting most of it.

Those of us who are of riper years are especially urged to stay indoors due to our vulnerable condition.  As we do not contribute much to life, it is better we don’t go around being a nuisance and spreading disease.  But even older people like to feel useful.  In order to have some excuse for living I am continuing to do bush care once a week, dragging my poor husband along with me.  We don’t meet many people in the bush, other than the occasional dog walking its owner.  And as most of the shops still open are food shops, I am buying extra food and taking it to a centre for asylum seekers once a week.  We meet other people doing the same, and asylum seekers out in search of food.  In fact, a lot of hungry people seem to be out scavenging for food.  Self- isolation is the privilege of the well-fed.

I don’t like Zoom meetings, and I don’t respond well to on-line worship.  I know that it has been a life-line for many people, especially for those Friends who were isolated even before the pandemic.  But I decided that I would go to the Meeting House every week (dragging along same poor husband) and sit outside with the trees and the birds.  After the first week I decided to read one of the Advices and Queries every week.  We have now read eight of them (one week we joined an on-line meeting).  Hopefully I will not get to number 47.  One or two other people have joined us.  After meeting for worship we do some gardening or general upkeep.  I feel better watching the light reflected off the leaves than watching the light flickering on a screen.

Is there no upside?  Well, yes there is.  The air is cleaner, so our view of the Blue Mountains is clear – and blue not fuzzy brown.  Best of all, on a clear night you can see the stars.  I woke at 4 am one morning and saw stars out the window.  I went outside and saw an arch of stars across the sky.  I haven’t seen that in Sydney for about 50 years.  I woke the aforementioned poor husband and made him go and see them too.

I am relieved that we can now have guests in our house, and am making the most of it.  The only thing that makes me do housework is the thought that guests are coming, so the vacuum cleaner has come out and the bathrooms have been spruced up.

One of my granddaughters went back to school for one day, and announced that she wanted to go every day.  The school has permitted this.  She is a lass after my own heart.

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