My Wesleyan friend Susan Allen called me recently to check in and to catch me up on Wesleyan news. During our conversation, Susan asked me for my thoughts on what will happen after the COVID Pandemic has passed. At first I said my thoughts were probably the same as others, but, when she was kind enough to say “You always have such wise thoughts on topics,” I began to wonder if I did have anything new or different to bring to the discussion.
None of us knows for sure what our world will look like once we are rid of the virus that has changed the trajectory of our lives. We know that we will never be the same, and we hope that our new world will be better than the old. I believe that an experience like COVID has something to teach us; that it can be transformative.
First and foremost, I hope there will be more love and acceptance of others, more tolerance and respect for all people. I hope that we will recognize and support our neighbors, and will be able to see the importance of neighbors in our lives.
I hope that we will live a more grateful life; that we will be more aware of how brief life is and will recognize more than ever that we do not have long to walk this journey. I hope we will be quick to love and make haste to be kind in ways that we have not done before.
I hope we will have learned the value of solitude and isolation, seeing it as a time for healing and contemplation; that we have learned the difference between being alone and being lonely; that we find time for a more peaceful way of living.
I hope that as we have experienced our own suffering and watched the suffering of others around the world, we become aware that we are all one, that this is not a dualistic world but one world, one people. As Peace Pilgrim (Mildred Lisette Norman) said, “We are all cells in the body of humanity.”
I hope there will be enough professional resources available to help heal those who have been traumatized by the effects of the virus on their lives; those who struggle with loss, confusion, fear, anxiety, uncertainty and depression.
And finally, I hope that the new ‘normal’ will include more joy, more laughter, and more love. While I believe that my ‘hopes’ can come to be, I can’t be certain. So, my comfort comes in knowing, with absolute certainty, that, no matter what happens, in the end, only love prevails.
Luleen Anderson graduated “Miss Wesleyan” from Wesleyan College in 1958. She earned her Master’s Degree from Emory University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University. In addition to 50 years as a licensed clinical psychologist, she is the author of four books and more than 80 newspaper, magazine, and journal articles. She lives in Wilmington, NC.