Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Joseph J. GuidoFebruary 15, 2021

The shutdowns in the United States—of businesses, restaurants, schools, churches—began one year ago this March. We asked 14 experts to reflect on the biggest lessons from the past year in the hope that they might help us find a better way forward. You can read the rest of the series here.

Adversity is a harsh teacher, but its lessons are hard to forget; and first among them is just how vulnerable and dependent each of us is. The isolation enforced by the pandemic, and the uncertainty and anxiety that trail in its wake, are stressful for all and, for some, traumatic. Deprived of the solace and support of family and friends and the reassuring routines of ordinary life, we can find ourselves irritable, moody and listless and, not uncommonly, depressed and tempted in baneful ways.

Yet a second and corollary lesson is also true: We human beings are remarkably resilient. The well-hailed heroes on the front lines and the less conspicuous but no less heroic caregivers in nursing homes or by a relative’s bedside are to be admired, in part, because they are otherwise ordinary. Afflicted like any of us, concerned about their families and making ends meet, and often shouldering additional burdens attending their race or gender, they have risen to the occasion, done what needed to be done and saved lives.

A third lesson is less obvious but no less important. The enormity and gravity of the pandemic, as well as its public nature, can dull us to traumas equally grave but altogether more personal and private. Enfolded in our shared experience is a legacy of personal adversity suffered long before Covid-19, one that rarely finds public acknowledgement but is rich in hope and possibility for the present.

We have confronted fearful threats before, sustained injury and heartache before, grieved earlier losses. Doing so was hard—perhaps harder than at present—and often lonely. But we survived. Better still, we learned to go on living: humbled but also grateful, hopefully more compassionate and a bit wiser. We can do so again. Remember: We know how to do this. Pray God, we do.

Catholic Colleges and Universities
Developing Nations
The American Family
Inequality
Technology
Catholic Schools
The American Work Force
Parish Life
Children’s Health
Economy
Catholic Hospitals
Globalization
Spiritual well-being

The latest from america

Andrii Denysenko, CEO of design and production bureau "UkrPrototyp," stands by Odyssey, a 1,750-pound ground drone prototype, at a corn field in northern Ukraine, on June 28, 2024. Facing manpower shortages and uneven international assistance, Ukraine is struggling to halt Russia’s incremental but pounding advance in the east and is counting heavily on innovation at home. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)
Reports are already surfacing of drones launched into Russia that are relying on artificial, not human, intelligence in decisions to evade defensive countermeasures, pick targets and finally conclude a strike.
Kevin ClarkeJuly 18, 2024
I cannot tell you exactly why I am getting emotional, except to say that maybe I am sorely in the mood for something simple and nonaffected and happy and endearing and guileless. (Maybe everyone is?)
Joe Hoover, S.J.July 18, 2024
In an interview with America’s Gerard O’Connell, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça discusses his love for cinema and poetry, what it’s like working in the Roman Curia and Pope Francis’ “Gospel simplicity.”
Gerard O’ConnellJuly 18, 2024
A movement known as Catholic integralism has been enjoying something of a revival in contemporary American political thought, especially among Catholic critics of liberalism and modernity. But history tells us that integralism can be more harmful than helpful.