We’ve lived through 15 months of lessons and tension. What have we learned on the other side of the pandemic?
On April 18, 2020, I (naively) wrote an article called “Decisions, Decisions: What To Do When It Is Over? It described what I thought it would be like when the virus and its threat abated.
I only missed the target of “over” by a year. I would have never envisioned it would take 420 days to write a piece about when it was over. I believed in weeks, not months. Months, not years.
I was wrong.
I listed lessons learned:
- We missed human contact. If that’s true, add it to your life after COVID-19 rather than the mindless stuff you did.
- We need sunshine. Alter your lifestyle to get more exercise outside. (It is a tonic for the soul.)
- We learn that too much screen time fries the brain. After this is over, we need to retool ourselves to limit screen time again. (Could the first two be great substitutes!)
James, in his letter, said,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3).
In short, trials of all and variegated types teach valuable lessons. I appreciate that James left the “trials” unspecified. The last year has tested our strength and grit.
In short, James says trouble is an able teacher. It can impart lessons classrooms and textbooks can never deliver. It lets us experience something vital to human existence—steadfastness. Steadfastness is not resignation but determination without the rage. That’s what we need, and that’s what trials deliver to the one ready to learn.
We have sat at the feet of trials in the last year sprinkled with the guest speaker of endurances. What lessons can we take from our season of waiting?
You can survive better than you ever believed. We have learned to eat at tables with families rather than noisy restaurants full of interruptions.
You learn to take a day at a time. Since you can’t change the future, you work on today.
You realize “this too shall pass.” It may be cliché, but a new day dawns with the sun. Stay thankful for each new beginning.
You learn the difference between the essential and the inconsequential. If you breathe, that’s good. If you can’t take a vacation, that’s ok.
You cannot control much of life, but you can adapt to it. Life is never in our grasp. It belongs to the Almighty, so learn his rhythms, and life goes better.
With vaccinations growing and restrictions loosening, we are like the bear emerging from winter. But let’s not forget what we have learned in the difficult circumstances of the last 15 months.