As this pandemic matures its way into history, we should start to reflect on whatever aspects we choose in our analysis of what we did right and what went wrong.
I’m not going to do much of that here and now because we’re not even close to experiencing the closing chapters, and solid conclusions would be premature. What I do want to do is look at several of the positive aspects of our experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to dismiss the loss of over 560,000 lives in the United States. I am proposing that the virus energized many people to be creative and inventive in socializing, working and worshipping.
I began working from home in 2002. I was leaving my full-time employer in Florida and moving back to Minnesota when an East Coast customer asked me to continue part time. This was a government task and as an operationally experienced technical writer I could accomplish most of it from home.
When it came to classified subjects and conferences, I had to travel for in-person work. It worked out splendidly. At home, in just two to four hours, I could accomplish what might have taken a full day or more simply because there were no meetings or interruptions.
Of course, I wasn’t home-schooling anyone either.
Distant, distributed meeting technology had been available for years, but wasn’t anticipated to be at the heart of business until this virus. Who knows what the future holds for all that commercial real estate that is currently unoccupied in so many city centers? I’m certainly glad I’m not in government in New York, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis and St. Paul, and any other megalopolis.
Churches, synagogues and mosques have had to adapt. I can’t claim knowledge in how Jewish and Islamic worship centers have adapted, but I’m certain they have, along with Christian churches.
In spite of the lack of understanding by many, many public officials who deemed Home Depot, Walmart and others as essential (besides providing services, they pay taxes), most places of worship elected to avoid pushback against the government when they were closed or limited initially to 25% or less capacity.
To many people, the ability to worship, daily when possible, is an essential part of life. Churches began using Facebook and YouTube to livestream or record services and masses for on-demand playback. I can speak for the Catholic church side of things because there has been an explosion of worship, education and evangelization opportunities available to anyone who can get online.
I doubt this would have happened to this degree without this pandemic.
One notable program called Bible in a Year began on Jan 1, 2021. The program is done via podcast and began with Genesis and will finish on Dec. 31, 2021. Father Michael Schmitz, of the Diocese of Duluth, is the primary reader and analyzer partnered with Jeff Cavins, one of the authors of The Great Adventure Bible Study program.
Since Bible in a Year began it has been in the top 5 of all podcasts in the country. This is a comprehensive, well-presented program that relates Old Testament content and predictions to New Testament content and fulfillment.
I don’t know if this program would have flourished without the pandemic and the resulting isolation. I do know it has been a godsend to so many followers - Catholic and non-Catholic alike - as reflected in multiple groups’ daily Facebook questions and comments.
Sometimes good things do result from something that only seemed bad at the beginning.
That’s the way I see it.