We are all familiar with the wide range of responses to this time of crisis. Some have loved the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and with the simple pleasures in life. We have all witnessed wonderful examples of the best of human nature shining in these dark times.
For others, it has been a time of unspeakable tragedy with loved ones being taken from families with no opportunity to mourn them properly. For some, it has been a nightmare of abuse and conflict. Whatever our experience over these past months, however positive we have managed to remain, all this will have had an effect on us.
It can be unsettling to be reminded that our destiny is out of our hands. Yes, we can try and mitigate the effect of the virus, we can rightly fight it to prevent unnecessary spread, but we have all seen we are not ‘mini-gods’ pulling the strings of our own existence. And that reminds us of our limitations and vulnerabilities – and therefore has the power to make us feel profoundly uncomfortable.
I believe coming out of lockdown will prove to be harder than going in. It won’t necessarily feel like that because, despite some people remaining fearful, for most, the increasing freedom we enjoy will distract us from what could be happening deep within. Put simply, for many people this pandemic will have stirred and exposed insecurities that may have lain dormant for many years. We can double our efforts at providing reasons for not looking, or we can take this opportunity to deal with what this pandemic has exposed.
The first thing to do is to talk. It isn’t weak to share what you feel in an uncertain world. What we cannot express controls us. It is all too easy to be aware of troubled emotions within – and then not take the time and trouble to put a name to them.
Secondly, while we must be constantly vigilant and realistic, let’s make sure our default perspective is not always worst-case scenario. If you know that is your tendency, take this opportunity to consciously correct that view by taking all the positives into account as well as the negatives. In other words, as the old hymn puts it, ‘count your blessings, name them one by one.’ Finally, in my previous article, I wrote about that dramatic night on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus appeared to his disciples in the midst of a violent storm. The disciples were at the point of exhaustion, rowing against the wind and waves, almost defeated. We use the phrase today, ‘walking on water.’ It comes from this story, for Jesus came to them walking on water. He calmed the storm. The disciples were amazed and said, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’ How did that happen? Because Jesus was God in human form. Over time the disciples learnt to trust him, to know that he is Lord over all. They found in him their security, their peace, their joy. He is the answer to our deepest fears and anxieties. Whatever this pandemic has exposed, we can find a safe place in Him.