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COVID-19: One year and counting

First slide

The prior 12 months have changed the world, and with it, all of our lives. In reflecting on the time from March 2020 to now, I was tempted to describe this period as "The year lost to COVID-19" but that would be hyperbole. This has been a year of contrasts and counterpoints. I watched my children miss spending time with their friends, only to see their relationships grow stronger as they learned to be not just siblings, but friends. I observed the Easter Triduum on a smartphone but a few months later was able to watch our oldest daughter receive her first Communion at our parish. I’ve seen outrage, shock and violence shake our communities, but also have witnessed incredible outpourings of generosity and sincere care for neighbors. It has, in short, been a year mixed with contradiction. But we have persevered to the best of our ability. And in the coming months, we will need to maintain that resolution. What are the ways in which we can persevere?

Perseverance

The simplest way to define perseverance is this — keep going until the job is done, even if it is difficult.  We’ve spent much of the last year diligently washing our hands, wearing masks and keeping 6 feet apart from others. It’s difficult for us to maintain this level of diligence, but it’s still important to remain committed to the practices that keep us, and those around us, safe. The term "COVID fatigue" speaks directly to that difficulty. As more people receive the vaccine, there will be an increased temptation to slack on those safe practices. We must fight that temptation. Even if we — and many or all of our loved ones — have received the vaccine, we still need to be mindful of those around us. There are likely people we come in contact with who do not have access to the vaccine, or who may be unable to take it for various reasons or who choose not to take it. What kept us safe in the past year will keep us safe and reduce the chance of any resurgences.

Find common ground

It’s fair to say that we all view the events of the past year differently. We may not agree on the benefit of masks, the use of the vaccine or the executive orders issued by the governor. But as these things are likely to be with us for the foreseeable future, we have two options: expend energy arguing over areas where we disagree or find the common ground that enables us all to work together. And what is our common ground? Love God and love your neighbor. All of our actions toward one another should flow from those two commandments.

Focus on Christ

Where is our hope? Is it in pharmaceutical companies or is it in Christ? When we turn to our faith and make it the bedrock of our lives, we are able to put the challenges we face daily into context. Our perseverance comes from a desire to flourish as God calls us to, and not be motivated out of anxiety and fear. When we focus on the blessings in our lives, no matter how hidden they may seem, we can overcome all manner of hardships as we patiently await the day when masks and social distancing will no longer be necessary.

Horne is director of clinical services for diocesan Catholic Charities.

Find out more

To make a teletherapy appointment with a Catholic Charities counselor, call 703/859-3147 or 703/447-9402.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021