I can easily recall my emotions from the early days of the pandemic: fear of catching the virus, nervousness that every person or surface I encountered was covered in it, paranoia each day when my husband went to work that he would be exposed and bring it home, and uncertainty for the future.
At the same time, I was fascinated by the idea that our planet shared a group experience. Working from home (or not at all) became the new norm. A tank of gas could last for weeks. We washed our hands like surgeons, counted our rolls of toilet paper, compared notes on the best grocery store delivery services, and searched our homes for the spots with the best lighting and backdrops for Zoom meetings. So many of our concerns felt universal.
Now it’s spring 2021, and we’re adjusting to life in a hopefully waning pandemic. I drive around less than before COVID but shop in person more than I did last year. I participate in two book clubs. My children experienced a fairly normal track season and attended their state meet. Our family sold our house and moved recently. These things feel blissfully ordinary, and I’m thankful for it.
Last March our lives changed radically, almost in the blink of an eye. We’re emerging from the pandemic at a slower pace than we entered it. Stores, restaurants, schools, and theaters closed all at once but are now reopening on their own timetables. We are re-emerging individually on our own timetables too.
Many of our families have been touched by COVID either directly or indirectly; two of my eight children contracted the virus last fall. Understandably, each of us will resume our normal activities and level of social interaction at a different pace, at our own comfort level. Situations that now feel comfortable to you may still leave your best friend or your husband unsettled — or vice versa — and that’s okay.
It’s okay if you’re ready to resume life as usual, and it’s okay if you’re not. It’s okay if you’re comfortable or uncomfortable in public or with groups of friends. The pandemic presented us with an unprecedented-in-our-lifetime shared experience, but our responses to it are varied and unique.
And although COVID took many things from us, it’s offered us an opportunity to extend to each other a new kind of grace: learning to live peaceably with one another even when we don’t agree on how we should be responding.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 (ESV)
Lately, I’ve been feeling the tension of having to make decisions that have no easy right or wrong answer and to know that my friends and family members — including my own children — may or may not agree with my choices. I ponder the question, What would Jesus do?, to guide my decisions, and I understand that my answer to that question could differ from others — whether that has to do with vaccines or gathering in person for church or traveling. I don’t know how He might’ve responded to this pandemic and the choices we’ve all had to face, but I believe He would’ve grieved with those who grieved, rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and loved everyone well. He was the ultimate giver of grace.
This pandemic has forced us to make decisions we may feel ill-equipped to make, and I need to keep reminding myself that while we may not come to the same conclusions, we’re all doing the best we can.
Members of my immediate family have made different decisions regarding social distancing and the vaccine, and we’ve learned to treat each other’s decisions with respect. I can’t choose for them and they can’t choose for me, but we can choose to give each other grace and show kindness when we don’t agree.
Matthew 5:9 tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” A peacemaker doesn’t just listen to words but to the people who speak them. A peacemaker listens with more than ears; they listen with their heart. The pandemic has disrupted our lives physically, socially, and emotionally. Let us be peacemakers and grace-givers who help to bring healing as we seek to understand each other’s choices and give each other grace in the days of COVID — and beyond.Leave a Comment