Hidden Blessings

March 28th, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized

When we look back over these last few days, weeks and months many of us can’t help wondering, “Where did this virus and pandemic come from?” and “What does it mean?”  The first question may not have a clear answer, but we want to know how it got here because such knowledge may help us understand it now and give us a handle on what signs we need to look for in order to prevent a recurrence. The answer will surely come from the disciplines of science, medicine and demographics.

But the question of what it means for us is not so easily answered, and certainly not by science, because each individual will respond based on his or her experiences. Some people may experience the virus and pandemic as God’s punishment for sin, while others may feel it is a “ test.”

I prefer to think the virus and pandemic are opportunities, and as such, have something positive to give and teach us. For instance, the social distancing that has come with the virus has made me see how important my friendships are, especially those which span many years but which I sometimes take for granted. The virus has motivated me to learn skills like FaceTime and WhatsApp, which let me not just think about people but actually see them and talk with them. I would probably never had done so without the virus.

A second gift that the experience of the virus has given me  is that I am more aware of people I haven’t really noticed or paid attention to before. Previously I would be aware of them but not really see them. Now  when I go into a grocery store or pharmacy I’m more likely to  see the employees  as individuals, each one facing the same kind of challenges that I do, and I realize that we do all share a kinship, whether spoken or unspoken. And what we are experiencing right now has been the experience of many people in other countries throughout the world. We are truly all in this together. 

Lastly, the virus gives me the reminder that I need to put into God’s hands myself, the ones I love and people I don’t even know. Then I find it easier to take seriously Christ’s command to depend on God and not be afraid. We may not be able to attend church right now, but at every moment God works in the way we need, and will be walking with us and, when necessary, carrying us —- all of us —- in his arms.

So, are these difficult and challenging times? Absolutely! But God is still able to meet us and bless us, even there. 

Frank Majka, S.J. 

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