So are we halfway through the Covid-19 lockdown? There was something a bit ominous about government hints yesterday around the eventual length of what one friend calls ‘house arrest’. And seeing President Macron of France announce several weeks more shutdown in his country wasn’t exactly cheering. But at least we know that this is reducing infections – and hospitalisations, and deaths. And people are being really inventive about how to live during lockdown: lots of DIY, some letter-writing, some TV boxsets, some new games and pastimes with the children. And there’s always keeping the garden tidy.
What’s disturbing is that personal and family relationships may come under strain. What can we do about that? The Old Testament’s ‘Song of Solomon’ offers wise counsel: ‘Love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave; its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.’ Those we love and live with are nearest our hearts, but also nearest our inner selves, and any feelings of anger or resentment about life and our own situation we may harbour. The closer you are to me, the more you know my depths. So managing ourselves during lockdown is a matter of awareness, of tolerance – both of ourselves and of others near us – and of sheer, determined love. As the ‘Song’ also says: ‘Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.’