This Monday morning we’ve been in Covid-19 lockdown for four weeks. What a strange period it has been, including Easter – but an Easter we haven’t ever known before: without family gatherings or excursions, without church celebrations. But there is at least a chance that the national effort has seen some success: though still horribly large, the numbers of those dying from the disease seem to be reducing. Things may be getting better.
Today, in the normal run of events, schools would be returning for the Summer term, for the last brief weeks before Year 11 and 13 students have their leavers’ events, and their examinations. At the other end of the system, our youngest pupils would be settling back into the warm and reassuring world of Reception. And at the end of this week, those returning to the world of work would normally be expecting their monthly salaries or wages to be paid…
But things have been immeasurably worse. In the late 1340s a third of our population was annihilated by the Black Death. Writing in the shadow of those terrifying events, a woman whose name we don’t know, living in isolation as an anchoress at St Julian’s church in Norwich, was able to say: ‘All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’ That is the sort of convinced hope that will help us through our own difficult times.