Just before lockdown started, I managed to get my hip replacement done at Mercy Hospital, and during my recovery I’ve found another great new use for my crutches. Knowing we’d be stuck inside for some time, my three grandkids (who share my bubble along with their mum and dad), helped me dig a four-hole putting green in the front garden. So, one of the ways we’ve been staying active is to have putting competitions—the kids use my golf clubs and I use my crutches! We’ve started putting obstacles in the way now too, to make it more challenging. Great fun!
Something that we’ve struggled with as a family has been the disruption to our connectedness during this time. Every week since the day my four kids were born, we’ve always had Sunday dinner together, no matter what. This tradition continued once they were married and had moved into their own homes, with the exception of one son who now lives in Australia. So for now, we’ve had to improvise. Each Sunday my son and daughter prepare their food and then we have a family phone call so we can catch up about our day, before I bless the food and family with a prayer. It’s not the same as being together in person, but I love that we’ve found a way to stay connected in a meaningful way during this unusual time.
Another extremely meaningful connection, not only for my family but for most of the Mangere community, has been our ability to stay connected to our churches. I’ve been so grateful for the Pacific Island Presbyterian Church’s online services which are held at 9am, seven days a week. We’ve been able to have a special Easter Holy Communion as well as our regular monthly ones—each of us has bread or biscuit and water in front of us at home, and we participate as best we can. This is a scary time for many in our community, and the strength, belief and support system that our churches are able to provide through these online services has been vital to our wellbeing. Much of our prayers and sermons are focused on following the lockdown rules, and supporting our government and leaders to help lead us safely out of this time, which I trust they will.
As I’m sure the rest of you are, I’m very thankful for technology that allows us to keep our faith and relationships alive while we’re in varying levels of social restriction. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the positive contributions that I’d like to make to my community and Kāinga Ora once I’m able to be more active again, and I encourage you to do the same. What a great time to ‘renovate’ ourselves from the inside and reassess what’s really important to us in life.
Kia kaha, John.