After the Plague

After the Plague

Written by T. M. Suffield |
Saturday, July 16, 2022

Everything but our closest friendships shattered, and we’ve forgotten how to regain them in a culture that was already suffering greatly from the demise of friendship. Honestly, in part it’s the apocalyptic nature of plagues at work here, it’s unveiled a whole host of things that were present under the surface. So, what can we do?

A little over two years ago the Prime Minister got on our TV screens and told us we had to stay at home. We crashed into our first lockdown that we all thought would last a few months and then slowly began to realise was a two-year waking nightmare.

If you don’t live in the UK your experiences of the details of this were likely to be a little different, but the broad thrust of the emotions will be the same.

I remember early on making semi-serious jokes about plagues historically tending to last for around two years. Though most often that would be, as I understand it, because they had burned themselves out by killing a substantial number of people.

In the UK Covid-19 is officially over and has been since mid-March. Or, more accurately we’ve been told that the new phase is about adapting to living with the plague. Whether you think that was a reasonable move probably reveals a fair bit about your political commitments, but it’s where we find ourselves, for now at least.

The major tone from people I know is one of relief. People are glad it’s all over. We’re beginning to reflect on what those couple of years taught us or cost us.

Churches are taking stock. Some, while it was painful, have weathered the pandemic well. I know a church that has grown in attendance and whose giving has gone up. They would say—I think, I may be putting words in their mouths—that they have thrived through the pandemic.

Many churches, perhaps most, have not faired so well. Today I read an account from a pastor I know of his church closing, largely due to the last few years of lockdowns. He was gracious and godly rather than bitter, but it has been bruising, and he was acknowledging it as such.

The thing is, I think those of us who have largely weathered the pandemic ‘well’—and I could include myself in this—have missed a key reality that those who have struggled have witnessed up close in all its brutality.

None of Us Have Thrived

I understand why some might want to say we’ve thrived, and perhaps some key metrics are looking healthy, but that just exposes some of the problems with metrics. Under the surface none of us are doing as well as we think.

We’ve been through what I think we can only describe as a collective trauma; it only doesn’t feel like one because it’s happened to everyone.

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