COVID – 19 and Complicated Blessings…March 28, 2020
I am writing this at a little after 3 in the morning, my jet lagged body refusing to accept that now is the time it is supposed to be asleep. Like many travellers around the world, I have been through a complicated process of rushing home as national borders close, and almost all international flights are cancelled.
True, Rosemary and I had been so enjoying my sabbatical leave at Carson Newman University in the USA that we were tempted to miss the last flights out, and thought that there could be worse fates than being trapped on Carson Newman’s beautiful campus in Tennessee. But common sense prevailed and we are safely back in Perth, Australia, and in the early stages of our two week isolation period, grateful that our house is large enough to prevent us going stir crazy whilst in its confines. Its long passage enabled me to clock up 8000 steps yesterday, though Rosemary likened me to a pacing tiger at the zoo, and I did often peer out the window and wonder what it will feel like to walk the pleasant pathways of our suburb again.
Naturally I’ve been thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to make some sense of a world that appears to have changed so dramatically in a matter of weeks. Strangely my main sense is that it is a complicated blessing – one which while devastating in so many respects, also has the potential for significant good.
Now I don’t want to downplay the downside. Thousands of people have already lost their lives, hundreds of thousands more are likely to. I get that there is no way you can attach the word “blessing” to that.
Around the world, millions of jobs have been lost, and many families are desperately wondering what the future holds for them. I get that you can’t attach the word “blessing” to that.
At a more ordinary level, many valid plans, hopes and dreams have been shattered. I’m not going to tell one of my students from Carson Newman who had to cancel his wedding because of COVID-19 to attach the word “blessing” to the cancelation. There has been a great deal of pain, and as always, it is not evenly distributed.
For some COVID-19 is a bothersome inconvenience, for others it is the death of most of what has been held dear. I get that those in the second group would feel a deep sense of betrayal if I attempted to attach the word “blessing” to what they are going through.
But blessings can be complicated, and good can come from brokenness. Here are some things that have heartened me in this crisis[…]