sunrise over a lake

A Slow Dawning

When this crisis is over — and it will be over, someday, in some form — few people believe we will simply throw open our doors and windows and stream, en masse, to the streets. It won’t look like the photos after the end of World War II, as people celebrated wildly and held victory parades.

It will be a slow emerging from our spaces, our eyes squinting against the light. Some countries and communities are, just now, dipping their toes into normalcy. They are exploring how to phase in daily life, step by cautious step. It will be tentative. We will be skittish.

A friend in a social media post suggested that, when we do arise from our homes, that it will be a huge global funeral. Before we celebrate, we must first grieve. We must hug and console the people who lost people. We must recognize, acknowledge and support those who are mourning — the loss of loved ones, the loss of livelihoods.

As of this writing, there have been 97,039 deaths around the world from COVID-19, or C19 as some are calling it. In a global population, and compared to other causes of death, it may not seem much. But each one of those deaths touched a family, a community, a tribe. We are, each of us, only a few degrees of separation from a COVID-19 death. We have each suffered a loss.

On this Good Friday, when Christians around the world recognize and remember the torture, death and burial of Jesus Christ, it may be a good moment to recognize and remember the family and friends of those who have lost someone in this pandemic.

The survivors were unable to be with their loved ones in those final moments, as most hospitals have blocked any family visits. They were not allowed to have a proper funeral, as that violated “social distancing” mandates. Their loved one was there, then not there. Their process of grief and mourning has been deeply disrupted.

When we start returning to the world, please do so knowing that others are returning with raw emotions. Their lives have fundamentally shifted in these last few months. In fact, they are not returning to the world, but are emerging into an entirely new one.

Be gentle.

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