By Rev. Jim Innes
A study once reported that if your parents didn’t have children, you wouldn’t likely have any either. Go figure.
Like it or not, we have been undeniably influenced by the circumstances surrounding us since inception. And, OMG, what an influential two years we have all shared. No one was exempt., not anywhere on this planet!
My granddaughter was born at the beginning of COVID and has been besieged by mask-wearing strangers her entire life. And she’s not alarmed. In truth, she is likely to be more startled by the variety of full-faced beasts walking amongst her. That is, if we ever get a chance to uncover our face in public.
COVID‘s public protocols have created for our children staggeringly different conditions than most have previously experienced.
I believe she has come into a real art of reading eyes only. Or perhaps, more assuredly, accurately judging mood by the inflections, however slight, in someone’s upper facial expression. And undoubtedly, in many other ways, circumstances influence her (and her peers) unlike any in my lifetime.
COVID barriers will mark our children, such as limited family gatherings, fewer (if any) public events, and decreased sports activity. And, perhaps most importantly (for school-aged children), they will be hindered by limited in-person school exposure. Not to mention all the social intelligence that develops in those early years of making friends and managing playground antics.
We are not the same people we were two years ago. Not just because we are two years older, but because we are managing a historically unique experience. We have grown accustomed (though not necessarily comfortable) to smaller social circles, working from home, attending meetings on zoom, and visiting friends and family via YouTube, Facebook, or other such audiovisual venues. And it will take years to process the effect this is having on us.
I belong to the Anglican Church of Canada. Our Primate, the Archbishop Linda Nicholls, suggests that the pandemic has left its mark on the church in many ways. Including, possibly, a permanent decrease in in-person attendance and the need for new spiritual resources (Anglican Journal). I will add that these changes are both positive and negative. There is much we need to reassess, and much we need to rebuild.
Despite the shifts we are all having to make, painful as they may be, I’d like to say that I am grateful we are on this journey together. There is camaraderie in managing such a global issue.
I have experienced no other situation where everybody, I mean everybody, must consider how their behaviour affects others. Such assessment is humbling. And, in many ways, exceptional!
As I see it, our life-affirming resiliency expresses our successful participation in the evolutionary process. God bless the creative minds, the hopeful heart, and those who step up to help turn our lemons into lemonade. And I pray the good things we are learning because of COVID are written in the stars and not in the sand.
Rev. Jim Innes is the rector of the Regional Ministry of South Huron.