By Jessica Brodie
Two years ago, as I was preparing the March edition of the Advocate, I had no idea we’d soon be on mass lockdown, with schools and churches shuttered because of a deadly virus sweeping the globe. As a journalist, I stay on top of the headlines, and I’d heard about this mysterious “coronavirus” sickening people overseas, but in February 2020 as I penned my commentary, I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come. I have a personal faith-based blog in addition to my Advocate work, and just before the pandemic changed the world as I knew it, I wrote a blog that ran March 9, 2020, titled “Something New Within Me” (https://www.jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight/somethingnew). In it, I talked about how I sensed God working something strange and new in me and in the world that I didn’t yet comprehend.
As I wrote, “I don’t understand it yet, but I trust Him, just like I trusted Him when I felt my unborn son kicking and swirling within me.”
Little did I know I was sensing the massive impact of COVID-19 upon the world around me.
In that same blog, I reflected on how, “Sometimes I look back at certain times in my life, times I now know were important, and wonder why I didn’t sense what was happening then. How could I have been so blind as not to see God’s master plan? Why didn’t I understand all those changes and signs meant He was opening a new career path for me, or steering me away from a toxic relationship? Hindsight often makes everything so clear.”
Two years after COVID-19 changed so much, I have a new opportunity to reflect. How have we done as a people in all of this? Where are we now? How did I, as a woman of faith, respond?
Some of us turned inward. Some of us decidedly did not, starting new online church services and innovative, alternative ways to gather. A good friend celebrated her 40th birthday with a “Zoom Party.” Others did online weddings and funerals.
It’s always amazing to me how the most horrible or dire of circumstances can often bring out the best in people. Wells of strength we didn’t know existed within us begin to rise up and water vast seas of scorched land, land that had been barren and fruitless prior. I hold a master’s in English, and I did my thesis on the hope children present within dystopian fiction. That’s what the pandemic became in many ways: an opportunity for hope and love in an awful time.
Yes, it exacerbated some issues, but the pandemic also put some of our denominational infighting on pause while we worked together to create vaccines and feed the hungry. It put some of the disagreements over doctrine and politics on a shelf as we focused on more important things.
Two years later, I’m OK with leaving some of our pettier squabbles in the distance while we focus on the bigger picture: loving others in the name of the risen savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Two years later, where are you?
By Jessica Brodie