We seem to fall into one of two camps: 1) really busy, working hard to keep the country going with essential services or looking after children/other family all day or 2) lots of spare time and not enough to do. There isn't much in between.
The thing about people who make things is, we are generally happy in our own company and can find things to do that we can enjoy on our own. So most of you I know are mostly alright, not exactly happy about the situation but able to do crafts and other activities you haven't previously had time for and are finding peace in the mayhem. A few are really struggling to find that peace and that is hardly a surprise. I really hope you have some needle felting because some stabbing at some wool is really helpful on some days right now!
I am going to focus on the good because there seems little comfort in discussing all the many losses at this time. I would advise this in any time of adversity so why not now. If you make; then make and paint and draw and sew and be glad of it. There is much talk of the benefits of "Gratitude", being thankful every day and how good it is for mental health. The bible says: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:15). The circumstances of our lives can change, but gratitude can transform the way you live your life. The bible talks of being thankful in all circumstances, being thankful in prayer and in deed. Psychologists now say the same, it does anyone good to find things to be grateful for. So whether you have a faith or not, turns out it is good to try to be thankful as much as you can. There is always something to be thankful for even if it seems silly like being thankful you have legs or can breathe or that you have bread, seek out those things and write them down or say them or just notice them. Psychologists say this habit helps.
Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything,but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Or in another translation: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.)
There are other good things to focus on. The skies are quieter and more peaceful. You may be itching to get back on that flight to your holiday but actually while there are so few flights and so little traffic, it is pleasant to spend time in gardens or on balconies or out walking. While your choices are so limited, you will be realising what is actually important to you and who is important to you. When you come out of this, you will know what you want!
We have a way to go yet. I have a feeling at the end of this, my problem won't be how you have all been. It will be getting you to come out again. I started Made In Molesey because making is a solitary activity. It is easy to get so stuck in to what you are working on that the rest of the world fades away. Relationships become few and it is easy to go into hermit mode and forget how to have a conversation. It took a lot for some of you to come the first time. I have a feeling it is going to take a lot for us to get back into the swing of being together again. Some will take to it no problem, those that have been lonely will be desperate to come. But those that have not been lonely may never come out again! That is where my thoughts are. Maybe because I am a little like this myself. Just awkward when out and about with others, yet I know it is good to have other people and to have friends who accept me as I am. People to love and to love me. I will work hard on persuading you to come out to craft when the time comes.
It is a misconception that those that live alone are always lonely. Lonely people sometimes live in large families or with a partner and those that live alone can be very contented and with strong relationships. Now we have phones and zoom and google hangouts and whatsapp it is all much easier than when we had letters. But at least with letters you had to just accept and get on with living now. It is a knack. If you know someone who has it and you want it, ask them. Contentment can be learned. Crafting certainly helps and I know you can do that. I hope you are discovering things at the back of your cupboard that you have meant to try and haven't got round to. I hope you find the motivation to give it a go now.
So, while we are enjoying time away being still, being separate physically, I pray you are more than coping. That you are finding ways to enjoy each day. That you are not longing for the future but living now. I pray you are working your way through every youtube video about every making skill, learning new sewing, woodworking, painting or calligraphy skills. I pray you are winding down each day to the true you, whether you are busy or have little to do. Pressing the factory reset button on your life and ready to only add things you want back when the time comes. Thank you so much for the sacrifice you are making for others, to save as many lives as possible. As I write this, the figure is 8000 more deaths than usual for this time of year. Without you staying home as much as you can, that would have been worse so you can pat yourself on the back. Enjoy the sun, enjoy the rain, enjoy the sky, enjoy your home. Enjoy making with no pressure. If you are working still, then I hope you are enjoying making in the evenings and days off to help get some perspective when work has all the usual stresses with a bunch of others on top. Don't wish this time away.
So here are photos from last time we met. I look forward to the next time. But right now, just enjoy today.