Jennifer Woo: Thoughts from the "Front Lines"
A year to remember.
How will we remember the year of 2020? For some, it may be the year they learned a new hobby from home, spent more time with their kids, or developed an array of online social networking technological skills. For many of us, it will be the year of fear, strain, and change as we navigated a new way of life due to COVID-19.
The new normal
The pandemic has made for a tough year. It went from being a small blip in the news of danger in faraway lands, to landing in our communities, breeding fear from its onset. We saw things we had never seen before. Schools, livelihoods, and communities shut down, health services were limited to emergency only, and we all stayed home.
Will it be a year of new beginnings, together?
At the onset, we were united. We were in this together, and many of us enjoyed the break of activity for slower days at home with our families. We marvelled at how much time and money we saved by making our own coffees, eating in, and cancelling our travel plans. We boasted about our new talents and interests in knitting blankets, making sourdough starters, and potty-training our kids. We were unsure of what the future held, and yet were willing to sacrifice for one another, and hung messages in our windows saying so.
Keeping our focus amidst fear
I came back from my maternity leave during the early days of the pandemic. I was scared, and we were told we may be re-deployed from psychiatry to more “front line work”, which would also involve higher levels of risk and retraining in skills I had forgotten. Yet, both my husband and I were reminded that we went into medicine to love our neighbors, and now was the time to do so.
Resting in routine
We soon got used to donning and doffing, masks, and regular screenings. Before we knew it summer was here, and with it a reprieve in our cases. We enjoyed picnics and time outside with friends and family, and we wondered optimistically if this had all passed. However, we began to hear whisperings of a second wave. Worried about what returning to school might result in, yet were grateful this was available to students again now that we appreciated routine all the more.
Will it be a year of tensions that divide?
We started noticing the tensions that have resulted in differences of opinion. Despite the fact that a virus is largely considered a ‘non living entity’, COVID-19 became very personal to all of us. We differed in how we saw its severity, the best way to protect ourselves, and how to balance the needs of our economy and our healthcare system. Us against the virus morphed into us against each other. This disunity and strife have competed with the physical dangers and caused us to blame, judge, and breed resentment amongst our families, friends, and in our churches. It has caused us to buckle under the weight of loving in difference; at our best, we have built bridges, and at other times, trenches.
And yet, Christmas has arrived yet again. We are again confronted with Christ entering our suffering as a baby and joining us in our cry that things are not as they should be. Our baking, gatherings and big events have been stripped away, and we are left barren before God. How does the incarnation of Christ affect the seemingly bleak moment of time in which we find ourselves? Where has our true hope been placed?
Will we open our hearts to God, or will we continue to turn inwards, marking time by the number of Netflix shows we have finished? Will we seek to love our neighbors, in sickness or in health, despite difference of opinion and physical distance? Will we cooperate with God and move towards (perhaps virtually) others in humility in love, or will we continue to harbor resentment, hurt, and judgment?
How will we spend this moment of time under the lampstand? Because this question also determines how we will spend our lives.
Jennifer recently shared about her experience coming to Briercrest Christian Academy and how God used BCA to shape her life and prepare her for her future. Read her thoughts here.
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