A New City reader shares how she has been living in lockdown.

[New City Magazine – August-September 2020, page 8-9]

Having experienced virus symptoms ten weeks ago I have been self-isolating since, only going out for exercise and fresh air in the park close by me. Just recently I ventured out to a nearby corner shop for a few items, wearing a mask and gloves to protect myself, feeling quite nervous.

It went well to begin with, as there was only one other customer. This gave me an opportunity to connect with the shop owner. She is a Muslim and was fasting during Ramadan. It was a moment to listen and make unity with her as she spoke of the lockdown impact on them having to self-isolate during a period when family togetherness is paramount.

As I was going out of the shop doorway, a young man barged in without stopping, not waiting for me to leave, passing right up close as he continued talking on his mobile phone as if I was invisible. I felt exposed and shocked that, given all the rules he could behave so thoughtlessly and disrespectfully. There was a mumbled word ‘sorry’ but his whole manner was dismissive. I reacted with anger and said his behaviour was unacceptable which brought on a tirade of angry retorts. It became a heated exchange… a stand-off.

I should have left the shop then but began to feel such a lack of peace in my heart. It was the week of promoting and standing for peace… I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to try and redeem the situation. Then a new perspective entered. I received the grace to see him through a different lens. Barging in had not been deliberate, it was a careless and unthinking action. Only love and forgiveness can change behaviour.

So, with the help of the Holy Spirit and against all my inclinations I was able to step outside of my judgemental attitude and seek a way to re-connect with this young man. I moved a bit in his direction and said ‘Look, let’s make peace, shall we?’ His defensive attitude changed immediately, I saw surprise and a willingness to do this. He responded with a ‘yes’ and then a gesture of social isolation greeting by putting his foot out to shake on it… lock down style! I reciprocated with my foot and as I left, I saw a smile not only on his face but also on the face of the shopkeeper. Peace was restored and I felt happier leaving.   D.W.

[See the article in full PDF edition on page 8-9]

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