by Carl Carmody
The death toll from Covid-19 has been horrific, the losses heartbreaking. As the world reels it has caused many of us to wonder what the future holds.
However, there are some encouraging aspects even in this present darkness I have noticed over the last few months. What this lockdown and social distancing seem to have done is to have reminded people just how important real human connection is and perhaps how much we have come to take it for granted.
From driveway street parties to communal balcony fitness sessions to clinking wine glasses held by long poles of bamboo, social distancing has ironically revived old-school neighbourliness.
Just the other day some people walking past my home shouted a good morning to me, which rarely happens. And while queuing up at Woolworths I noticed people chatting to each other and smiling as they shared their stories of what was happening at home.
I've also noticed so many more people, especially fathers, going on walks or bike rides with their children, or playing basketball in their driveway. What wonderful dividends this will pay.
There have been stories of how people have gone out of their way to care for their neighbours to make sure all is well. Normally in our busy world such acts of kindness are very much the exception.
It has been heart-warming watching families camp in their own backyard and seeing kids so excited as they watch the tent go up. What a joy it has been to see families pulling out a board game that hasn't seen the light of day in years.
It has been so nice to hear of people getting around to doing those jobs that have been on the back burner for years. Gardens are looking well-tended and, if the shortage of DIY products at Bunnings is anything to go by, houses are getting long-delayed renos and make-overs.
Lest you feel I am painting far too rosy a picture of family togetherness, let me just say I am well aware there is a less savoury side too. Enforced family closeness, job losses and financial hardship can and have sparked a rise in domestic violence and addiction. I do not in any way want to minimise the difficulties thrust upon our community.
But let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Let us instead celebrate the good we do see while extending a hand in any way we can to those who are struggling.
There is another thing that has been on my mind, something I think we all need to think about. Have we ever asked ourselves what happens to us when we die? Are we ready for death? It would appear lots of people were caught off guard when Covid-19 exploded into their lives, even though we know that 100% of us will die eventually.
The Bible has some interesting things to say about this. Hebrews chapter 9 and verse 27 says; "It is appointed unto man to die once and then comes the judgment." This tells us that we are all in the queue but what makes the difference is whether we are prepared for it or not.
The sad thing is that we become so concerned about setting ourselves up for this life we forget there is another life to come, that we need to be prepared for.
A few months ago we celebrated Easter, which is all about how Jesus came to Earth and died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He rose from the dead so that we can know forgiveness for our sin and be set free from the power of sin in our lives.
A pandemic reminds us how incredibly fragile we humans are, and how easily death can take us unawares. What we do with Jesus in this life, determines what He will do with us in the next.
Doubt it? Here is a thought for you; if I am wrong and there is no afterlife, you have nothing to lose but if I am right, your eternity is in the balance.
Consider this Bible verse from John chapter 3 and verse 16; "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."•