To go or not to go?
That was the question on my mind early yesterday morning as I was preparing to go out for a run.
I usually go out most mornings between 5:30 am and 6:00. I go on my own. I run in the countryside and rarely see anyone, except the odd runner like myself. I usually run around 10k or 1 hour.
But Friday morning I was wondering if it was still the right thing to do. I don’t think I am taking much risk for myself or others. But still, it didn’t feel right. We haven’t be told to simply distance ourselves from others. We are confined, locked down.
Many seem to face the same dilemma. Maybe that’s because there are several conflicting discourses. Socially distancing from others is understood differently by people. That’s probably why our president was criticized last week for not talking about confinement/lockdown. A few hours later a government minister had to explain what Mr. Macron meant: stay inside, don’t go out, confine yourselves.
Now exercising is allowed. But it must be for a short period of time, and near your home (that’s also vague and understood differently). For some near home is 1km. For others, it means 5km.
I still went out. It helps thinking. As I was running in the countryside, enjoying the birds singing and daylight rising. I realized I was probably showing a bad example. What if people see me. They may think I am just another foolish person, challenging the authorities, playing with my health and other people’s health. But I am not.
So this morning I decided I wouldn’t go out for a long run. I did some step-up exercises, climbing 240m in total. I may still go for a quick run in the afternoon around the block.
Day 3 was pretty similar compared to day 2. Early morning run, breakfast, shower, homework for the children. I spent part of the afternoon on the phone to get news from members of the congregation. Everyone is fine so far.
Esther went for a run in the afternoon. When she came back, I went out with the younger ones. We had a quick walk around the football field across the road. They hadn’t been out since Monday afternoon. I tried to do some reading, but didn’t go far.
We are overdosing on news so we decided we wouldn’t watch the news and watched some Youtube videos instead.
We had an early night. No need to stay up late.
The church in Cognin cannot meet for the time being because of the coronavirus crisis. All churches had to cancel their meetings last Sunday after our prime ministers asked for all premises where people meet and not indispensable to the life of the nation to close. Religious buildings could stay opened but people couldn’t meet. Then on Monday our president announced a lockdown. We are not supposed to go out. There are a few exceptions, and church services is not one of them.
But church life won’t stop. We decided to encourage fellowship in various ways:
- Videoconference: we will meet via videoconference twice a week to share news and pray together. On Sunday morning, we will also listen to a short meditation on Scripture. It will be recorded for those who can’t attend.
- prayer: I have sent a list of members and regulars to everyone so that we can pray for each other.
- Family worship: rather than tell people to follow a streaming service, I will send them a framework for family worship and some tips. In this way, the whole church will do the same things. In my opinion, this will be much more useful than passively listening to a church service (which may not be very sound theologically), especially in our context.
- Keeping in touch: I am encouraging people to stay in touch with each other and will get in touch personally with each family from time to time, especially those who can’t attend the videoconferences.
God willing, this time will be useful for our church and we’ll all be looking forward to meeting again in a few weeks/months.
Day two of the national lockdown went smoothly. I had my early morning run in the countryside. The children worked for a while in the morning. The streets were quiet.
I took the bins out. There were two stands on the weekly market but hardly anyone. We could see people running around the park.
The main street was empty, few cars, hardly anyone around. I had a chat with the folks at the bakery. They will continue to have a lot of business I think as people buy more bread.
In the afternoon, I started getting in touch with church members and various people who attend our services regularly. I hate the telephone and hardly ever use it. But I have decided I will get in touch with most folks every week especially those who can’t attend the videoconferences we are organizing. Those I spoke to were well.
So, the government decided it was time to lock the country down and put the whole population in confinement because of Covid-19.
On Friday we thought we could still have our Sunday service, cancelling the communion and making sure people wouldn’t shake hands or kiss each other. But on Saturday we were told all places and businesses not essential to daily life. That included places of worship. So we quickly contacted everyone the let them know all meetings are cancelled.
Schools had closed on Friday evening but will send homework daily for the children. We had never seriously considered homeschooling but in God’s providence, we have no choice. So on Monday morning, all the children got down to work. It went well for a while. They’ll get used to it.
On Monday evening, our president announced that people would have to confine themselves, starting Tuesday lunchtime. But there are still a few things we can do outside.
Tuesday, our first day of confinement went well. The children did some homework, played some board games. Jean-Baptiste, our eldest, went cycling (that’s one of the few reasons to be able to go outside).
In the evening, we had our first prayer meeting by videoconference. It went well. 10 people were able to connect and we had time to share news and pray together. Next meeting will be on Sunday, by videoconference.