The coronavirus has certainly wreaked havoc on our world. It has touched almost every country and, without a vaccine, the pandemic will not end, most scientists say. It may slow down only to return in a new wave of devastation. As the number of cases and deaths rise, we wonder if any good can come from such an appalling evil. Here are some of the good things I thought could result from our time of sheltering in place. I have heard or read some reflections from people who have been struck by how self-centered and individualistic they had become before the coronavirus struck. Hopefully it will make us less egocentric and more conscious of others.
For one thing, when I hear of people reaching out to those in need because of jobs lost or reduced, I am touched by their generosity and compassion. People who may not have been so conscious of others’ suffering have realized that without jobs, many people cannot feed their families. It could be a teaching moment for parents to show their children that there are more important things in life than electronics and fashions. I hope that this outreach to others will continue after things get back to “normal,” whatever that means in the future.
While the Mount sisters have been strict about remaining at home in isolation, I hope more people have learned to practice patience as they wait in lines for food or other necessities. Some may have started talking to strangers or letting an elderly person or a mother with children go ahead of them in the line. Perhaps we may look at each other with understanding and a new sense of comradery. There seems to be a growing sense of “we’re all in this together so let’s make the best of it.”
Social distancing has also made many of us realize how much we took hugs and touch for granted as now we miss the comfort of contact, giving us a new appreciation for closeness and touch.
Another good that I hope will continue after the pandemic is the importance of contacting family and friends to say, “I love you,” or “I’m thinking about you.” When our lives are filled with busyness, we often don’t take time to do that. Now we are more aware of how fragile life is and how those with COVID-19 can die without hearing those words from their loved ones.
Some have used the extra time to go through old letters and pictures, perhaps getting rid of those they no longer need or want. As old memories flood their minds and hearts, they have been moved to remember old friends and classmates. The shortness of life has suddenly become more real.
Prayer has also become more meaningful for many who live with worry and fear. Trust in God’s love and mercy is essential for getting through these tough times with a modicum of peace. For those who have not been able to attend church services, and especially for those of denominations that are accustomed to the practice of Communion, this pandemic has made many realize how important our worship services are for us.
I would like to offer a little prayer that I read in America magazine:
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages curing every disease and illness. At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.