The biggest challenge of my life so far
This period of isolation is indeed the challenge of my life so far, and of my Christian faith, admits Norfolk County Council Chaplain, Rev Dr Liviu Barbu, but I give thanks to God for what I can learn and change through it.
As we are trailing through the days of lockdown, we stopped this week, for a moment, to remember the many lives untimely lost to the pandemic and our brave frontline fighters. Every life is precious, whether we are young or old and we are shown that no one is completely safe.
In those days of Eastertide, light and hope are shyly penetrating the dark and gloom of loss, of lives and freedoms. Slowly and gradually, we may soon be returning to the life we had before, but would that be the same? What lessons could we learn from those weeks, perhaps months, spent battling an invisible and unmerciful enemy?
Do we wish to return to the same world and society of a few weeks ago? Of course, we all do wish to come back to some sort of normality. Yet, I think, that unless we come back stronger, more united and ready for a bigger personal and social change, we are no better than yesterday: politically and socially divided, fighting for every inch of our own ideas and often too readily trampling over the ideas and ideals of others.
We may now be able to converse with and be more acceptable even of our own adversaries, those whom we wanted to say away from. The shadow of danger made us see our sometimes meagre and petty problems in a new and more positive light, seeing and understanding what is essential in life, the value of friendship and togetherness, even in the face of animosity and hardship.
When this crisis ends, I would value more every single encounter I could have, I would shake hands and embrace more people than before and I would have more dinner parties with my friends. Now I know and I could say it bolder: my brother, my sister, my friends, you are my life!
Life is difficult without you, not seeing each other face to face, not being able to share what I have, my life with yours. After all, Christ has indeed so well succinctly comprised the essence of our love for God by putting that on the same level with our love for our neighbour, the people in our lives, close and far.
This period of isolation is indeed the challenge of my life so far, and of my Christian faith, but I give thanks to God for what I can learn and change through it.