My lockdown strengths (in no particular order)
I can be an introvert without feeling second-class. Sitting in virtual meetings without the need for small talk over coffee is quite releasing. There is zero correlation between being a talker and having good ideas! (but tell that to an extrovert) The new zoom etiquette of being muted, and even waving your hand if you want to get the facilitator’s attention, makes meetings more efficient and releases me from the tyranny of making my voice heard above the loudest talkers.
I am much more confident about thriving in small contexts than I used to be and lockdown has reminded me that the ideal leader does not have to be the biggest presence in the room. Some of the best and most interesting online material is from the thought leaders not the bombastic scene-stealers.
I like taking time to explore ideas and under lockdown I can do that. I usually travel many weeks of the year and now have extra space in my head and routine to browse opinion pieces, join in webinars, and read, without feeling guilty that I am ‘wasting ‘time.
It’s been brilliant to hear and learn from people whom I have never been able to see in person – because of geography or the weight of commitments. So NT Wright has been a regular virtual visitor, Funmi Parra-Mallam from Nigeria has energised me, and I have engaged with bishops in Melbourne and Canberra.
Exploring ideas without jumping to quick conclusions is not a fashionable trait, but under lockdown I have been released to contemplate and pray.
Life and church and work are going to look different for quite some time, and discerning the right paths without blaming, without fear, and without needing old securities could be exciting.
I like wearing lockdown casual clothes. Much has been made in the western media about lockdown fashion: influencers have been seen in birkenstocks and casual tops (shock!).
But for people like me, who have worked from home for years and cannot stand wearing high heels, the casual look has not been a strain.
Fashion and dressing up can be fun but they can also be tyranny. A highlight of my life as a campaigner on poverty and corruption was to get a press pass for the G20 meeting in 2013. I had to walk several kms every morning and evening in the humid early summer weather to get through all the security – there was no way I was going to wear killer heels. Some women told me I was ‘brave’ to wear low heels to meetings.
Maybe women everywhere will now be more confident about embracing comfortable clothing that does not leave us worried about a skirt that’s too short or shoes that cause blisters.
It has been a privilege to pray for others who are facing illness or grief or the sheer long hours of hospital work. I can lift them up when they have little energy. My husband and I pray every day for our city and for our high-rise block of flats, as well as our closest loved ones.
I have ticked things off my To Do list that have been lurking there for months.
My mum’s cake and biscuit recipes all sorted and some of them road-tested on neighbours and family (parcels left on doorsteps).
Sewing repairs and alterations completed, sitting in sunshine, not thinking of much but being very productive
Catching up on basic French online.
I have been able to celebrate the contribution of women to tackling the pandemic.
Women are the main caregivers in families and to friends and neighbours, and they play many roles while caregiving—health provider, care manager, companion, educator, financial advisor and emotional support.
Women also make up over 70% of health and care professionals around the world. They have been serving and risking their own lives, often in low paid jobs like care workers, cleaners and kitchen staff.
Do I want this to go on forever? No way, but the strengths of lockdown have been a blessing.
What are your lockdown strengths?