Chaplain’s Log – Always Remember to Carry your Facemask!
At last, the brown leather notebook telling of my life as a workplace chaplain can be opened again. A sense of excitement abounds as I fit a new ink cartridge to my pen. Old fashioned my approach may be, but there is a pureness about gathering ones thoughts, pausing and reflecting before the sound of scratching nib records the memory of faces and conversations, laughter, banter, grievances and frustrations onto crisp white pages. Yet our technological obsession means writing and annotating has now given way to word processing, cutting and pasting, spell checks, memory sticks, Dropbox and iCloud. The traditional art of longhand gradually usurped by impersonal shortcuts; but hey, at least we now have Zoom!
Some trepidation there is still to be found; COVID has made bureaucrats out of us all with risk assessments and action logs, and death by PowerPoint added to the mix. Best of intentions implied, yet much remains out of our control, awaiting clearance from new operational heads adds to the frustration. Diabetes confronts me like a barricade never felt vulnerable with it before, now being forced to maybe re-consider, yet my first instinct to ignore it still holds strong, to be more like the apostles and let nothing prevent our mission. Bum sitting is no longer an option.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; PPE, initials originally signifying critical shortages now in abundance with masks, shields, gloves and aprons all part of the armoury we now have to wear along with hi-viz and safety shoes. One-way traffic flows indoors and out, following the arrows yet all the while hoping you can retain your sense of direction.
Reminders everywhere to keep your distance, mind the gap has taken on a whole new meaning, bottles of hand sanitiser sit alongside perfumes in handbags up and down the land, and the humble blue roll is eulogised and mythologised in the fight against spreading infection.
We are a compliant nation are we not? Perhaps that’s a rhetorical question as any frustrated bus driver, shop worker, security guard, police officer or paramedic will attest? Younger people seem oblivious to the risk that they pose to their elder peers, yet fines have no effect and us who are older, are left to wistfully shake our heads.
So as we venture out to our ministries once again, fully COVID compliant - or so we dare hope – to our departure checklist; PPE, money, car keys, bus pass, ID card, notebook, prayer book, New Testament & Psalms we now include an important addendum.
As God walks with us and beside us striving to keep us from harm, we Chaplains can help to lighten his task
And just like the wartime generation once had to do, to
Always remember to carry your Facemask!