Let me make a confession, not only is the title of this post a shameless knock off of Love in a time of Cholera, it's not even my knock off, it was said to me in conversation by the head of a Hospice this week. I think that takes care of the accusations of plagiarism deservedly heading my way.
The conversation though was really interesting. In the midst of this terrible outbreak which is taking lives, undermining vital treatments, because anything that damages your immunity system is just too dangerous, blighting our mental health, causing chaos to our economy and placing people (and especially Women) at greater risk of domestic abuse, there are also things we should hold onto. When all of this is over we should not simply return to normal, it will probably be impossible to anyway. We should reflect on what happened within our communities, how we started looking out for one another. We thought about the needs of families with children who would normally be at school, the elderly who would need shopping done for them, those experiencing food poverty. We came to see immigrants as our hero's working in the NHS and in care homes, often doing work that had been described as unskilled and lowly paid. We clapped the NHS and care workers and realised that the people we rely on the most we often reward the least.
We paused, thought and some of us prayed, we learnt to connect to each other online and Churches discovered that they could indeed be open when their buildings were shut. Those living in cities discovered what life with much lower levels of pollution could be like, we came to understand what it feels like to live with anxiety or depression, showing each other and ourselves just a little bit more compassion and some people began to think about what might be possible.
This time will come to an end, we will get through this, but there have been moments within it that must not be lost or forgotten as we decide how to build the world after Covid-19. If it is cleaner, if it is more compassionate, and it's community bonds are stronger than before, then at least a little of what was lost will be redeemed.