• Janet Sibanda

Postmortem of a pandemic

This week I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Tafadzwa Meki from Heart and Soul Tv to discuss- Homeschooling Mums and Working from home.

As I settled into the guest- seat at the radio station, it dawned on me that we have been homeschooling our kids for a year! Yes, there was a short break in November- December, but a whole, very long year nonetheless. Taffy’s joy and excitement about the upcoming opening of schools were palpable. I personally felt my own heart skip to the beat and sing with absolute joy.

I feel I need to qualify this by saying, these feelings are in no way telling or a reflection of my relationship with my kids, but purely a realization that space is good. It is good for me, it is good for them, it is good for us all!

A quick run-through of 2020 into 2021- for me, there was too much tech, food, and hormones. Not to mention the ever-present anxiety situation each time I left the house to do a simple thing, like buy bread. I remember when COVID first came, I would leave the house looking like an Eskimo. Long-sleeved tops or sweaters, jeans, socks and trainers. The heat in that get-up was murder, however, I was more motivated to avoid the threat of murder lurking within COVID. I remember getting home and scrubbing those exposed body parts raw, just in case ‘RONA’ had decided to picnic on my face or neck.

In no time though, the hysteria wore off and the complacency took over.

It started with a throat that wouldn’t quite clear, then an ache in the chest. Soon after, the whole household was steaming, ingesting any herb with a name, while milking each ray of the sunlight for Vitamin D like a frozen reptile. Then came the professions of undying love, bunker plans for what to do in case the worst happened and full disclosure about the family financial situation. The scariest moment was waking up in a panic (because sleep crept in and was able to steal your consciousness) and looking over to check if he was still breathing! You beat yourself over and over for falling into a deep sleep, but the body can only go so far without rest.

Then in that still quiet moment at the break of dawn, (when the birds are only just stirring, all you want and need to hear are the gentle inhales and exhales signifying life) you find peace.

While you can say it, while you can show it, while you can spend it; let love be your compass.

I am thankful for an amazing community of friends and family who wanted to see us through the worst. Every day they would call to check-in. Every day they would pray for us. They say, 'whoever is out there praying for me, don’t stop because it is working'. I am grateful that my name and that of my family continue to fall on the lips of so many with prayers of love, strength, and healing. COVID taught me that ‘WE’ can make it better than I can alone. Sometimes my prayers for my friends are not even words, just heartfelt sighs laden with love and hope. Many of us were hurting and needed a hug, but the distance between us was a far greater show of love than being together.

From the open wounds of my anguish, I found a sisterhood of safety, support, and purpose. When Sister's Share; a weekly podcast borne from the need to unload burdens, introspect and restock on God's promises, has now become an essential part of my life.

I reflect on the last year with amazement and gratitude to The Almighty for the growth I have seen in myself. I am definitely not the person I was in 2019, and the years before that. I have come to trust in God with complete and reckless abandon, because, He has shown me His face countless times this past year. I have seen His hand in my work. This blog post you are reading today is not just a hobby, but a calling from deep within the core of my being. He has called and each and every post has His fingerprints all over it.

So much has happened around my family and I, and at the same time, so much has skipped us. I am fully conscious of the people around me, with whom I need to check-in. Though sometimes the charge gets heavy, I soldier on, because so many have also made sacrifices for me. Sacrifices aren’t always quantifiable. Sometimes it’s an extra couple of minutes on the phone with someone who needs an ear. Other times it’s not calling at all, but ensuring your support can be felt from a distance, with gentle reminders that they are in your heart and mind. In some instances, it’s recognizing that the relationship is better saved by putting it on hold.

I learnt consciousness; the art to be still and listen. I learnt mindfulness; to be intentional about every little thing. Though it may sound like work, it literally unloaded some heavyweights I had no business carrying. Now I live in the moment and effortlessly let go of what does not belong in the ‘chill spots’ of my mind and heart. I learnt that love is a gift, if you have someone to share it with, do so without restraint. Each day you have to love is a blessing. Love with such reckless abandon that the person will get sick of you. We neither know the time nor the hour when such opportunities will slip from our grasp. While you can say it, while you can show it, while you can spend it; let love be your compass.

I am thankful for the past year because it taught me what is important. The time I spent with my family, I would never trade with anything else. I am now so self-aware and have learnt that humanity is absolutely beautiful. In each of our broken and imperfect selves, we are gorgeous. When you take a step back and look, the blemishes add character, the weaknesses are opportunities for you to step in, the broken spaces are gaps for Christ to fill in and mend. With a little more grace, a little more kindness, and a little more love, your world can be a little better. I think I would also add a little less care!

I know we all have deep wounds from the past year, I will not minimize those in any way. If you can work through your pain enough, try and look beyond the dark clouds to see the bright rays of the sun ahead. Just like the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, may you allow Christ to mend your broken pieces with His Glory.

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