Some semblance of “life before COVID” is beginning to emerge from lockdown in many parts of the world.
And that’s got some people nervous.
In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, 49 percent of adults reported feeling uneasy about returning to in-person interactions. One respondent said “We were forced into isolation and now we’ve grown accustomed to it.”
Shelter-in-Place wasn't just a gift for Introverts.
It’s not just social anxiety holding some people back. For people whose pre-COVID life was marked by overfull schedules, mind-numbing commutes, and long office hours, lockdown delivered an ultimate reset. A lot of people have enjoyed the slower pace and the increased time with family. Some are not chomping at the bit to run back to a stuffed life.
Others have adopted safety regimens that have helped them establish new cultural norms and, even in light of data, can’t easily shake the sense of protection (and nobility) it gives them.
No matter what any of us prefer, re-entering into the new normal will be gradual, emotional, and confusing.
I love what God can do through online mechanisms, but I remain convinced that people are meant to share air as well. I’m convinced that, deep down, almost all of us can’t wait to share air (partly why some restaurants and movie theatres are filling up even faster than classrooms, offices and churches).
We must be diligent and we must be patient.
There will be chances for the early adopters to be around each other, but there must be a lot of grace and advocacy for those who want to take it slower.
Rest assured that life outside the cave will feel something like normal again, even if it takes a while. We are handcrafted by God to be social and there’s something about being in the same room that we respond to unlike anything else.
15 months of this may have us feeling a little rusty and a little uneasy, but we’ll get there.
Give your neighbor grace.
Give your school grace.
Give your employer grace.
Give your church grace.
Give yourself grace.