On Friday I got to make an “in-person” pastoral visit! Suddenly it felt like there might be a glimmer of hope for returning to “in-person” relating after long weeks of self-isolation.
During that conversation, we spoke of many things, not the least important of which was trying to answer the question: “What have we learned during the pandemic that we ought to take into the future?”
This has been a frequent topic these past days, so I thought it might be interesting to share some of what I have thought with you for further thinking, refinement, and discussion. So, here goes!
- We can make radical changes when we accept such changes are necessary. The swift spread of a virus brought us to a crisis—changes became essential. And so, almost overnight, we changed…changed our ways of relating to one another, our ways of gathering. And the motivation for such change was not only our concern for our personal safety, but also with our concern for the well-being of others. In other words, we can make changes quickly for the sake of the well-being of others.
- We can adapt and learn new skill sets for living into the radically changed new reality. Look at how quickly we took up frequent handwashing, using hand sanitizers, keeping social distancing, changing the frequency of our grocery shopping, developing “telephone trees” to keep in touch, learning and using Zoom, and so many more new ways of acting.
- We cling to the memories of “before the change!” We remember the ease with which we used to relate to one another, the joys of being “all together in one place” for worship, the energizing times of singing together, the fun of coffee and fellowship in the church hall. And at times, our nostalgia invites us to return to those moments – even as we know we cannot, for we have all been changed. We know we cannot go back to what once was. As adults might long for the days of youth, we will go forward as new people, altered by our time in isolation.
As we leave behind what we have been, what might be emerging?
Until then, Grace and peace to each and all.