With slight easing of the lockdown this week, some of us may have breathed a sigh of relief. Others will have become anxious – not least parents and teachers – about what new easements may mean, what dangers they may hold. After a couple of months, we may have become so used to our confinement that it’s now our ‘normal’, somewhere we feel secure. What’s clear, though, is that we can’t stay immobile and isolated for ever, and we have to move forward to whatever the ‘new normal’ may turn out to be.
As we reflect on the past two months, recalling the profound loss and sadness this period has brought to the homes and families of the 34,000 who have so far died of the virus, we search for wisdom and understanding about the future. The artist David Hockney, whom I have quoted before, today offers an interesting viewpoint. Writing to a friend, Hockney says: ‘I’m 83, I’m going to die. We die because we are born. The only things that matter in life are food and love, in that order, and also our little dog Ruby.’
In that order? Really? One can understand how important a treasured family pet may be in lockdown, and food too. But consider what St Paul said: ‘Faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’ That vision is surely a greater one; a guide for the future.