Transport facilities were very limited. There were restrictions on the use of electricity, gas and even water. There were countless other limitations. But as we came out of the wartime situation we were all the better for it: more self-reliant, more caring for the needs of others, and more conscious of what we could produce by our own efforts.
Hopefully it will be the same with the way the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our lives. At present, we are not allowed to meet and socialise in the way we used. We can’t shop as we used. We can’t hug and embrace as we used. We can’t even pray as we used. But stories are abounding, telling of people reaching out to help one another, especially children, the sick, the elderly, the needy; of families coming closer to one another as they spend more time together; of the self-sacrifice of health care workers who risk their own health and safety to attend to their clients, of people who have discovered the satisfaction of working from home and who would like to continue doing so for the rest of their lives.
These days people are experiencing the bleak conditions of the ever-spreading virus. But they are also experiencing a deep-felt assurance that all be well, that all will be very well. In the depths of their hearts they know that through their resilience, their cooperation with one another, their care and concern for one another, the winter of their discontent with the ascendancy of the virus will transform into the glorious summer of a virus-free world.
As the poet Shelley said, “O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”
At the time of writing, a long wet winter in Ireland has given way to a bright sun-filled spring. Just as surely, the dark uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic will give way to health and well-being.
We know that the doom and gloom of Good Friday were quickly transformed into the hope and brightness of Easter. Likewise the fear, isolation and sickness of the coronavirus will inevitably be transformed into bright hope, all-encompassing joy, and the end of this evil thing among us. That is our hope. That is our faith. That is our certainty. Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restored our life.”
Michael J. Kelly, SJ
Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia
30 March 2020