Easter thoughts amid COVID-19

Baby boomers, by definition, were people born in the years immediately following World War 2. The Cold War aside, boomers never experienced a global war until now—as world leaders declared war against COVID-19.

World War 1 lasted 4+ years; World War 2, 6 years. How long will the war against COVID-19 last? Nobody knows for sure at this time.

When we are in the middle of a grave crisis, it can be difficult to envision the victory at the end, never mind the postwar world order.

Loss of hope involves a stifling of an inner movement toward the future. — Henri Nouwen in ‘LifeSigns’

Given this is the week before Easter of year 2020, it is only appropriate to reflect on how the age-old message of rebirth applies in the current time of COVID-19.

Easter to me conveys a two-fold message of being given a second chance, and in turn giving one to others. 

The daily bombardment of coronavirus news took a heavy toll on our emotional health. We could not help but feel sad for the victims and at the same time concerned about our own health.

Peter Piot, a co-discoverer of Ebola, had this to say about our current defense against COVID-19:

We have no vaccine. All we have is medieval ways of containment: isolation, quarantine, contact tracing.

Many people’s lives ground to a halt by the aforementioned containment methods … all collateral damages of this war against COVID-19.  We hunkered down at home. Days of self-isolation had turned to weeks, and we remained confined inside our homes.

The longing to get back to ‘full normal’ grew stronger by the day.

When can we meet up with family and friends again?

When will schools, churches, shops, restaurants, movie theatres re-open?

When can we return to work, assuming our old jobs are still there at the end?

In reality, the post-pandemic world will not be business as usual. Besides the tragic loss of human lives, many businesses will be permanently closed and their employees out of work. The trauma is real and far reaching.

Easter however is not about a return to our old selves. After all, some of us might not be that satisfied about what we were like before COVID-19.

When the creative spirit is extinguished by fear, we cling to what we have, and thus stop moving and growing.— Henri Nouwen in ‘LifeSigns’

Rather, it is about unleashing impactful energy from new sources, soaring to new heights while penetrating the thick cloud cover below. It is about mustering enough courage to move forward in the midst of major setbacks. This is the second chance we can look forward to, not the going back to the ‘normal’.

If nothing else, this self-isolation experience taught us the importance of community and solidarity. Just like fighting COVID-19 is community-centric, thriving post-pandemic must be the same way.

It is not enough for one to thrive alone in the post-pandemic community. The Easter message invites everyone to come join the reboot. Everyone needs a second chance.