We’re coming to the end of Lent, and my reflections during that time will end. As I’ve matched the usual number of days, I may just finish here and roll freely into Easter Sunday.
In the Christian calendar, today is Good Friday marks the day Jesus was crucified. In the current context of the COVID19 pandemic, though, one has to ask ‘What is ‘good’ about this Friday?’ I’m not going to wander off on a religious polemic, but a lot of people, even those who claim to have strong faiths, are struggling to find good at this time. But, part of the Easter story is about hope–that comes from the resurrection of Jesus. That, for many, is what they are holding on to each day, as they adjust to various forms of enforced confinement and restricted movement. At its simplest, the hope that ‘normal’ will return soon. The fact that normal was not that great for everyone so something that’s becoming clearer to many (for the first time, perhaps).
But, let’s look briefly at the current set of abnormal conditions:
- Staying at home–somewhere that’s supposed to be ‘your castle’, yet many see as their ‘prison’.
- Surrounded by family and loved ones–except that many had structured or developed lives that didn’t give much time and space to being in that situation, not that this was a bad thing, but it’s actually now the everyday norm.
- Much of what you enjoyed is no longer possible, except eating and drinking, I suspect, in many cases. ‘Going out’ now has a strange feel, as it can be nothing more than stepping outdoors. We’re lucky, living in the Tropics, that we always have warm weather. Much of the northern hemisphere is just coming out of the long, dark, colder days of winter, so were looking forward to the ‘joys of spring’, but it’s largely denied.
- Curfews and lockdowns are the stuff of national crises, but usually against a physical danger, that most can see (natural or manmade). This danger is largely invisible and many find that uncomfortable.
- Changing habits of a lifetime. Most of us have never washed our hands so often and so thoroughly. Many of us have never felt the urge to not let people come close (introverts and extroverts can debate which of them is worse off, now). So many routines have to be discarded or considered more carefully (such as the somewhat involuntary touching of the face or licking of fingers).
- Health necessities have started to become fashion accessories, as the face mask takes on a life not associated with banditry but with common sense and a fear of infection.
- Humans have retreated and nature gets to advance. I love the videos of wild animals taking over town and city spaces. Less visible changes are going on, which may not last but bring some near-term benefits: less vehicular movement means cleaner air, less noise; less activity means more leisure, but that’s a forced not chosen balance.