Salisbury East

Lighten Your Burden

Ceri Stanley

As I’m writing this article, we have just come out of our 7-day lockdown. I don’t know about you, but for me, it was certainly a week of mixed emotions. When I initially heard the news of the lockdown I felt all those familiar feelings from last year of uncertainty and concern. As we went through the week watching many, many press conferences keeping a close eye on where the next hotspot location was, I was on a rollercoaster of hope and fear. Mentally calculating “Was I at the Plaza at that time? Which day did I go to Bunnings?” I have several friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours who have had to quarantine. I saw many Facebook posts of people in COVID testing queues for hours. Stories of the COVID testing site staff being abused and stories of them being hailed as heroes. I was in disbelief over how people could be so cruel and mean-spirited and then I was captivated by the goodwill and kindness of others. This unease and the gamut of emotion has been exhausting. I’m sure many of you can relate.

It is a strange place we find ourselves in now, we are relieved that our lockdown wasn’t extended but we are also reminded again that we don’t know what “normal” will look like. Needless to say, we are worried. As parents, it isn’t always easy to know what or how to share what’s happening with our children. We might say things like “Oh don’t worry about it or You’re fine, everything is ok, you’re a kid, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” It is completely normal to protect our children and we want to shield them from what’s going on. But we all know children can be quite intuitive and they know when things aren’t normal and things just don’t seem right.

I was reminded of one of my favourite children’s books “The Huge bag of Worries” by Virginia Ironside. It’s a story about a young girl, Jenny who is a generally happy girl who starts to take on too many worries and they gather in a bag which she has to drag around with her. This bag gets bigger and bigger and Jenny doesn’t know what to do with all her worries. That is until a very kind, wise neighbour helps her sort them out so she had no worries left. The point of this story is to recognise that our children do carry worries and they don’t always know who to talk to about them. Our children need to feel heard and reassured that their worries are real and it’s ok to talk about them.

If you are unsure about how to talk to your children about the pandemic or the worries they have here are a few websites that offer some excellent advice on how we can support our children and young people to adjust to our new normal. I would encourage you to check them out.

Australian Red Cross
Black Dog institute
Beyond Blue

Finally, in all these things I know I can take refuge and comfort in my Heavenly father. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our cares and anxieties onto Him because he cares for us.

It reminds me of the words in that beautiful hymn ‘His Eye Is on the Sparrow.’

When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches over me.

Many blessings.

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