September for me has always been the month where work begins and my daily routines start again. I was a teacher for over 40 years, so the day after Labour Day meant back to work. The carefree days of summer were left behind and I focused on teaching, grading, and moulding the young minds of my students. My kids were enrolled in activities that required a schedule to be put in place to ensure everyone got to where they had to be on a certain day at a certain time! The routine always included attending church, but with work beginning again and routines on schedule, going to church seemed less of a sacrifice and more a part of our daily life. The beginning of the school year always brought renewed expectations, renewed energy, and renewed hope.
This September, although I’m no longer teaching, is giving me some of the same familiar feelings I had from those teaching days. The pandemic in Newfoundland and Labrador seems to be slowing down due to so many people getting fully vaccinated, and people being vigilant when congregating with others. I find myself hopeful for the first time in a long time that our routines will become more normal and possibly back to pre-pandemic days!
Even though I’m in my 90s, I still try to maintain an active lifestyle. I go to physiotherapy every two weeks to try and keep my muscles as strong as possible. As long as the weather cooperates, I try and walk around my house to keep my muscles moving so I am as mobile as I can be these days. My muscles need the extra work so I can be as independent as possible with daily living activities. When I was younger, I could rely on muscle memory to get out of bed and walk from place to place. Nowadays, it seems more of a concentrated effort to move from place to place and my memory requires prodding at times!
The one routine of my daily life that has never changed is my devotion to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Even though I haven’t been inside a physical church building since this pandemic started, every day begins with prayer and ends with prayer. Every day ends with a Bible reading and The Grace. Every Sunday has included a church service, watched online. On most Sundays, several services are watched from several churches, as Sunday has always remained the day set aside for Our Lord in my family. My place of worship has become my kitchen table but my love of God and his Son is just as deep and committed as it has always been in my life. With the restrictions of the pandemic lessening, I am hoping to once again walk into my favourite church and greet all the many friends I have so sorely missed in the time we have been apart!
This pandemic has changed many of our routines and maybe we have replaced some of our activities for others during the pandemic. Like me, I hope and pray that you will return to your physical churches, freely and without concern now. Our physical churches are the places we gather to share the love of Our Lord. It is a place of comfort and a place of family! If there is one thing I have learned from COVID-19, it is that being together creates the comfort, strength, and hope we all need to survive; and our church homes bring us together to reinforce the love of Jesus Christ and His Father!
Begin this “work” year with a return not only to local businesses but to local churches to renew the togetherness and strength we need to go forward! God Bless you all!