01 May Alumni Interview: Min-Jee Wilks
Min-Jee completed the Residential Fellowship in 2018. She works as a Paediatric Registrar at Middlemore Hospital and lives in Newmarket with her husband Cameron. Here, Min-Jee shares some of her experiences from lockdown.
Where do you work and what has changed/adapted given the Lockdown?
My work at Middlemore Hospital involves seeing sick children who come through the Emergency Department and looking after kids who are admitted into the hospital. The beginning of the lockdown meant almost daily changes to policies at the hospital. This included who we needed to swab for COVID-19 tests, what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would look like for us, and even the layout of the department.
As New Zealand was able to manage COVID-19 proactively, our hospitals have not been hit so hard. While we continue to “stamp it out,” our concerns are shifting towards children and whānau who are at a higher risk of not coping well during this time. For example, children with behavioural difficulties or severe disabilities haven’t had the usual resources such as extra caregivers or respite care. They haven’t had the usual routines that are needed for some to thrive. These can lead to significant social and mental health issues and I’m hoping for better strategies to support them.
What are some of the things you’ve enjoyed about lockdown?
I think the lockdown has allowed me to see and enjoy many small blessings, which I think I was “too busy” to appreciate previously.
I have been getting into cooking a few slow-cooker meals and Cam has been baking more than usual, including hot-cross buns, fruit scones, and sticky date pudding. We have been fortunate to live close to so much beauty, like Newmarket Park, Orakei Basin, Hobson Bay Walkway, Mount Hobson, and the Auckland Domain. We’ve been making the most of these spaces in lockdown.
I’ve also really enjoyed spending more time with my husband, Cam. He works as a civil engineer and has been working at home during the lockdown. It’s meant we have seen each other more as I have a shift roster. We have even had a well-timed five-week marriage course through our church on Zoom. We are thankful for good support from family, friends, and church (including our small group).
My personal highlight of the lockdown was giving Cam a haircut. I’m already looking forward to the next time I can pick up the scissors.
What are some of the challenges you experienced during lockdown?
Initially, I found myself reading a lot of unhelpful news and Facebook posts, which got me worked up. I’m glad I was able to stop that.
While listening to Lockdown Radio a few weeks ago, I heard Nathan encourage us to pay attention and reflect, rather than filling your time with mindless work. I have found myself preoccupied – with projects around the house (dealing with the “three pandemics of the house”–mosquitoes, then moths, then fleas!). Even reading a book or studying for exams have become ways to distract myself from this surreal reality of COVID-19. These aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but I found them to be tasks that filled up all of the space of silence and rest.
What passages of Scripture have you found helpful and encouraging?
My reading of Scripture has mostly centred on the idea of suffering. I have been reading the book of Job and realised there are so many chapters on suffering. Easter was also around the same time, and Mary’s grief at the tomb was palpable for me.
Why were they encouraging? Perhaps because there were books to turn to in the Bible during times of suffering. Perhaps because God offered comfort in the suffering.
We’ve all got a bit more time on our hands, tell us about your favourite podcast, movie, or book, and why you like them
I don’t listen to Podcasts much, but Cam and I were given a subscription to RightNowMedia through our church. I recently came across a sermon series on the book of Job by Derek Thomas. I really liked how he has a digestible message for each sermon that helped me to reflect deeper on suffering. It’s led to good discussions with Cam.
Last year, Cam and I went to Auckland Choral’s performance of the Messiah by Handel. It has three parts and, with bible passages, tells the story of the birth of Christ, his death and resurrection, and the promise of eternal life. There’s been much joy whenever we come across its lyrics while reading the Bible. Cam and I belt out in singing and, as you can imagine, it’s quite a scene.
By C.S. Lewis
I’ve been reading this series during lockdown. It tells stories of men interacting with other creatures in other planets, but where there hasn’t been a “Fall” like there has on earth. Seeing these creatures interact with God in such a different way has helped me to reflect on my own sinfulness.
In Perelandra, its first woman (like Eve) describes her free and willing obedience in a fresh way, which really convicted me of my grumbling. When you are given a different fruit to the one you expected, “you could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of another.” But she is overjoyed that it has been her conscious decision to obey and truly enjoys the new fruit. What a liberating attitude to have!