Berwick Thought for the Week: Creativity in a crisis

Chris Hudson and Tweedmouth Parish Church.Chris Hudson and Tweedmouth Parish Church.
Chris Hudson and Tweedmouth Parish Church.
Did it all really happen? Looking back on the Covid-19 pandemic, everything now feels a bit blurred.

Surreal deserted streets. Everything closed, including most schools and workplaces. Clapping for key workers. Keeping a safe distance from one another. Government-approved exercise for one hour in the fresh air. Skies empty of aircraft and, wonderfully, birds singing louder.

Somehow, we all coped, adjusted and found creative solutions. Bubbles. Zoom calls. Online meetings. I ran a crazy jungle-themed online gathering for church families called Banana Club, ‘Because the whole world’s gone bananas!’

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We streamed church services with live music. Our food bank went crazy with generous donations and distributions. Dressed as a monk, I started a walking tour for visitors on Holy Island, retelling the tales of our Northern Saints and fundraising for charity – literally making a drama out of a crisis.

One personal upshot: eventually catching Covid-19 myself, I couldn’t shake off the coughing afterwards, went to get it checked out – and received a cancer diagnosis.

Scary, yes... but the doctors just, might, have caught it in time… bizarrely, thanks to the virus. As my treatment progresses, I recall the words of Psalm 31, ‘My times are in your hands’, which must include the times when we don’t understand either what’s been going on, or what might happen next.

I’m now studying our collection of Covid face-masks, noting the patterns and colours, remembering the crazy creativity that went into surviving that horrible time.

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When the histories are eventually written of this period, I hope they include tales of how we all worked out ingenious new ways of caring for, and engaging with, each other and I hope we don’t forget them too quickly.

Chris Hudson is a Licenced Reader in the Benefice of Scremerson, Spittal and Tweedmouth, host of Holy Island’s ‘Lindisfarne Tales’ walking tour, an ex-primary school teacher and teacher-trainer, and author of over 20 books for teachers and pupils. He blogs on Facebook as ‘A Box of Glittering Delights’.