As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease and so many look forward to life returning to ‘normal,’ it is important to take time to reflect on what we have learned from the last two years and move forward using these important lessons during this challenging and life changing time.
A National Lottery Community Fund survey found that 77% of people in the UK say that the pandemic will “change their behaviour”, with a new focus on enjoying simple things rather than chasing materialism and the importance of friends and family which at times had been taken for granted. It also suggests that the pandemic will have a positive impact on how we care for others and how we care for the environment, our common home.
As virtues, faith, hope and love have long been celebrated but throughout the pandemic these virtues have been the lived experience of many as families, neighbours, friends, parish communities, schools, our health service etc. have come together to engage, support and comfort one another throughout the pandemic. The online engagement, support packages, acts of kindness and countless other ways to show concern and provide care from these groups have been a lifeline for many. In 1 Corinthians St Paul writes “Three things will last forever: faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.” (13:13). I have found myself thinking of this often throughout the pandemic and even more so as we begin to move into the post-pandemic recovery phase. This message is one we have heard many times, at weddings, funerals, special occasions and yet we overlook the power of it. These virtues are intertwined, they cannot exist without the others – faith leads us to know God, hope keeps our faith alive and love is the way.
When daily walks were all that was permitted, it became an opportunity to explore the world around us. To delight in the hidden gems within our city and experience the simple joys nature offers us. Socially distanced walks with loved ones, daily exercise, opportunities for calm and reflection as for many our homes now became our workplaces too sparked an appreciation for God’s creation and the importance of its conservation. These circumstances gave us the opportunity to stop and think about how we live on our planet and promote the goals of Laudato Si’ which we should continue to work towards as the hustle and bustle of pre-pandemic life begins to return. Many charity initiatives were born during this time using the outdoors to raise vital funds for local groups to be able to continue their work. The light of Christ within us shone through in the darkest of times.
Moving forward, with gratitude in our hearts it is paramount that faith, hope and love are the things we should pursue in our lives as God is love and love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Rebecca O Doherty teaches in Steelstown Primary School, Derry and is a very talented musician.