In years gone by, long before the arrival into our lives of so many modern means of communication, the youngest children in families were tutored in the main by their grandparents. Like Jesus, they use the story-telling method as the most efficient means of gaining and maintaining the interests of their hearers. Some stories were factual, handing on family history and local folklore; others were fanciful, with the aim of inculcating values or stimulating imaginations. This latter type of story generally ended with a recognisable final sentence:-“ AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.”
Given the total disruption of all aspects and areas of modern life, caused by the arrival of the Coronavirus, the question might well be asked- “HOW ARE WE TO LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER?” (that is after the departure of this virus).
The one thing certain in this uncertain time is that it will decline with the development of vaccines and immunity.
It will take longer to adjust to life without restrictions and to regain our social confidence in our dealings with each other.
How long will it take us to HAPPILY shake hands and hug?
When will we HAPPILY join group activities or be part of large gatherings at sporting and social events, in cinemas or Churches or even family occasions?
When will we HAPPILY dispense with social distancing?
All restrictions will eventually be lifted; that is the easy part.
A return to what were NORMAL social practices will be more difficult.
Maybe a whole NEW NORM will develop; a change of direction that will lead us back to a more human, respectful vision of life and of people. Hopefully during this period of slowdown and enforced reflection, we may realise that much of what we were about in recent years was not all that wholesome or respectful of the individual’s human dignity.
Is this ill- wind of sickness blowing in some good? Is the pandemic bringing to the surface again values and standards that have been submerged in what was becoming a materialistic and a self-serving culture?
I believe so; green shoots of care and concern and involvement are becoming more evident by the day. Groups and professions of all types are stepping outside their traditional, rigid and demarcated comfort zones to assist in this crisis. No one has been found wanting.
Hopefully that renewed concern for THE OTHER will be a strong feature of a NEW NORM.It is fitting too that it should emerge at Easter time ,when nature too awakes with new plant and animal life.
Easter is the celebration of the greatest act of love and self-giving in history, when Our Lord gave Himself in service and His every life
in sacrifice. His example is being followed literally these days in the many who have put their own lives on hold in service of the sick and the growing numbers of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice as He did.
May a continuation of that positive attitude to others be a dominant feature of a new society.
May it take as its motto the words of the Risen Lord :-
“ DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO DO UNTO YOU”
In such an atmosphere we will all “ LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!