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26 April 2020 (Pastoral Page) CIRCUIT BREAKER WOKE ME UP

By Deaconess Elaine Kwek

I’ve been living at the same home since 2004 and there has been a Park Connector on the other side of the canal. However, I could never bring myself to make the short traipse to the bridge to cross to the other side of the canal. It seemed so inconvenient and I found the track on the other side uninspiring. I’d much rather be playing soccer. While I knew that there were benefits to it, I found jogging/ running boring.

However, early last year, I tore a ligament on my left knee. I could no longer play my beloved futsal and had to go through months of physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the ligament. Part of the recovery process meant I should be able to jog without feeling a strain on the ligament before I could play futsal again. And so, towards the end of 2019, I grudgingly started to make the short stroll to the other side of the canal to jog but still infrequently. I returned to playing futsal around early March this year but the social distancing rules kept getting tougher and eventually that pursuit was disappointingly halted.

A week before the Circuit Breaker was to start on April 7, a new Park Connector right behind my home was opened. Suddenly, I had no more excuse when it came to accessing a track to run. As I started to work from home, I found I had more time in the early mornings since I no longer had to drive to work. While I’ve found doing any form of exercise before sunrise totally unappealing, forced by the unusual circumstances we now face, it made sense to go out for a walk or run before others arose. In the 2 short weeks, my eyes have been opened to my own “backyard”- to behold the beauty of sunrises each morning (when I used to drive to East Coast park just to catch one on the odd occasion), to enjoy the gentle and cool morning breeze and see the amazing flora (majestic trees, assortment of colourful flowers, ubiquitous fungi) and fauna (playful otters, sashaying monitor lizards, regal eagles). On these runs, I feel God’s pleasure (to quote Eric Liddell) and enjoy the beauty of His creation. It makes my heart want to sing and I do! I am so grateful to God for breaking down all those excuses I had in the past and for opening a whole new world to me after I’ve ignored and resisted for 16 years! Post Circuit Breaker and Covid-19, unless my knees give me trouble and God willing, I’m likely to want to continue to do these early morning runs not just for the exercise but to also enjoy precious time in His presence and with His creation.

What about you? What has changed for you? Covid-19 has had an immense impact on society and individuals. Many (including myself) have tried to find things to do to occupy themselves including trawling the net for latest developments on Covid-19, and consuming the many free movies, free theatre and free books now made available. Some relish the time they now have with the family. But I wonder whether during this Circuit Breaker period, have we actually found more time to spend with the Lord? If not, what are the excuses? Many have noted that they have more time on their hands. But how are we filling it up?

I missed out on enjoying the beauty of God’s creation right behind my backyard for 16 years because I was too caught up with my own convenience and with what I’d rather do. It took Him turning my world upside down with the ligament tear, this current global pandemic and more to wake me up to it! Have you wondered what you might be missing out on? In theseunprecedented times, what’s He been trying to wake you up too? May I encourage all of us to continue to take time to be still before God and let the Holy Spirit show us where we need to be more obedient to our Holy God.

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