We’ve been out of lockdown here in Italy for over two months now. Although not all countries are yet open to international travelers. But at least we’re out of lockdown! And I’m learning one thing.
Perhaps we didn’t consider the after lockdown enough. How will it be? What will have changed? Will we have to adapt to something new? Or will things just go back to normal?
Back to normal?
Things are back to normal to some extent, for which we’re grateful. Many businesses have reopened, people are back to work, schools start this week or next, and hospitals are no longer overrun.
Hubby also started back at the language school where he works. Which was strange and challenging after 7 months off! And strange for me after months of blissful 24/7 togetherness! (Our area was shut down earlier than the national lockdown on March 9 because of an infected teacher.)
We’re grateful he’s working again, but in some ways it’s like starting something new! And how much he even works will depend on the level of fear out there. Will parents even send their kids?
A new society
Obviously, I can’t speak for every place, as I only know what’s happening here. And I realize that any statements I make will probably be generalizzations to a degree. But what I am observing here, two months after really tight lockdown, is that attitudes, people, and mentalities seem to have changed. It’s like a different society!
Italy has always been an extremely demonstrative culture. Very touchy-feely, abundant hugs and kisses. Hands and arms waving everywhere when they talk and always gesturing.
But no more. Instead of coming up to greet you many back away, avoiding all contact. (Sure the arms still wave around. I think you’d have to tie them up to stop Italians talking with their hands!)
But the traditional kiss on both cheeks has become a rare species. Nowadays it’s the elbow bump or the touching of closed fists. It’s sad and doesn’t feel normal. 😥
But there are other kinds of fallout too, beside the ongoing social distancing and masks. The economy is struggling more than ever, with many jobs and businesses lost. People are still recovering from physical effects and emotional stress.
Masks and social distancing are still required in closed public places, on public transport, in schools and churches, and at many jobs. And we are continually bombarded with the possibility that another big surge could happen with colder weather.
Ever back to normal?
Will things ever get totally back to normal? I think and hope they will. But without a vaccine, I also think we’ll live with the after effects for a while to come. We already have changes in travel, personal and public relations, economics, government, and everyday life. I hope we will eventually see it end and return to normal!
Good from lockdowns
No, I’m not necessarily saying I think the lockdowns were/are good. I personally think Italy’s was too harsh. But I firmly believe that God can bring good out of anything, even pandemics and lockdowns. For instance, people have come to the Lord or returned to their faith through all this.
So I think it would be helpful to look at the good that’s come out of the lockdowns and quarantines. At least the good I’ve been able to find, and the values we’ve learned to better appreciate:
- Relationships and human contact
- Solidarity with others
- Freedom, especially freedom of movement and choice
- Freedom of worship most of all
- Nature and the great outdoors
- Good health care
- Sufficient finances
- Technology, and hopefully how to use it more wisely; with others rather than alone.
Sadly, the after lockdown doesn’t mean an immediate return to the way things were, and may never mean that. As much as we may wish for things to get back to normal (if they ever were), I think it’s important to look for God’s hand in spite of it all. Because he’s always at work, and working for our good!