September 18, 2020.

I am an extrovert, so isolation has been difficult.
Before the lockdown I worked two days a week at Scope disability services in Chelsea, assisting clients to live a rich and full life. This became impossible during lock-down as was choir and mosaic classes. I found myself completely isolated and locked away from every pastime and every support.

Born into a Catholic family, my dad was always the best example of how to deal with suffering in a positive way. His life was not easy, but anyone who met him would think he must live a charmed life simply by his smile.
I married my husband (a non-Catholic). He and my eldest son were baptized on the same day at St John Vianney’s parish. The oblate priests showed me a new way to appreciate faith through service.

In my life I have always found my strength in faith. So online I sought out Shalom TV. I attended the daily masses recorded at Holy family parish, Doveton (This was my first parish as a child). These helped me immensely with the first weeks of lock-down. I had previously attended a Shalom media retreat which was so good for my soul.
As the weeks went on, I found EWTN, the pope TV channel and immersed myself in the glory of the Easter services from Rome. I found the Facebook page of Divine Mercy. All of these helped me feel at peace.

Around July, members of the CCR2017 pilgrimage to Rome and Portugal started a Whatsapp group. I was immediately reunited with the most wonderful, faith-filled group of people. It has been 5 years since the tour, but we have been able to share with each other so freely.

In late August I booked an online choir program. Then in September I am booked to participate in an online rosary program.

Stage 4 lock-down had an interesting effect on my wellbeing. Content in the quiet of my own space, I was convinced that I could be happy by myself. But family members did not believe that this was a healthy way to live. So once again, I have broken out of the cosy cocoon I made for myself. I downloaded the Library apps and am now reading 4 books a week. I am enjoying living through the words on the pages from other people’s lives.
In reflecting on this I can say. All is good with my soul.

Marlene Ling.

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