Debate: In March 2020, I wrote the article “Thoughts about Hope in a Difficult Time.” It’s been ten days since Norway went into lockdown, and we’ve all been marked by uncertainty and turmoil.
Selge Trim Mathiasen
Dialogue Priest at Kirkelig Dialogsenter and Stavanger and PhD Fellow in Religious Studies at UiS
As a pastor, I was humiliated by people who were anxious, lonely and desperate – and needed someone to talk to. The church, which was always an open place in times of crisis, was closed. or rather; The church is closed as a physical space. But we were many priests and deacons who opened other rooms and rooms for conversation, prayer and meditation. From the kitchen tables, zooming in and out and walking two meters apart, we met people, talked together, exchanged ideas – and tried to create hope. I hope things return to normal.
Can the pandemic contribute to lasting change by focusing our attention on the most vulnerable so far?
What natural do we want to create?
But usually what is this? Is it normal as it was before March 2020 we want to return to it? Now that everything is opened up, what is opening up in us of wonders and ideas? Everything we experience in life shapes us. This pandemic will shape us, too. What changes will we make with us next? What can we tolerate disease on an individual and collective level? What do we tolerate differences and different understandings of reality? And how can we meet each other across all the dividing lines with open arms now and then now? There is something weak in this. We know more now than before. There is also something vital in it.
More than hope
We said everything would be fine. But not everything is going well for everyone. We must not forget those who have lost loved ones in this pandemic. We must not forget those who have lost their jobs and social networks. We must remember. And we can learn from that. For now, we’re grateful for the things we once took for granted. This in itself is indeed a great gift. Danish priest and hymn-writer Johannes Mulhive wrote: “When all is lost, all is restored by grace.” What did this time teach us about grace? This difficult word that wraps all of heaven and all life. Grace is great and small in our ordinary daily life, and all that gives meaning to life. to be. It is a blessing upon grace. It is hope that becomes more than hope.
Fresh air and nature
What has this time taught us about our humanity? Our ability to take care? Our trust? Our responsibility to each other and to nature? Air, trees and water need purity and freshness so that we, too, can be healthy. What does this tell us about the connections between humans and nature? When society has in many ways stalled and its pace slowed, did we pause for a quieter encounter with ourselves? When the water is calm, we can see deeper than in a turbulent sea. This is nature. So we are human.
Responsibility for what we see
What did we see at this time? What do we see in our reflection each morning while brushing our teeth? What did we see in the eyes of others? It is a basic human need that must be seen. It is also a basic human responsibility to do something about what we see. Can a pandemic contribute to lasting change by focusing our attention on the most vulnerable – yet then? The most vulnerable and most vulnerable people in nature? Can we find the will to see more clearly what is important and less important – even now then, when everything opens up?
In March 2020, I ended the article with Selge Obovt’s poem “Afterwards”. Boldly (and with her permission) I rewrite her poem to “Now” because now is now later, and hope is more than just hope; It has become a reality:
sitting on a ladder
In the autumn sun together
Drink from the same cup
Share the heart of the waffle
And be so close
We are like one body.
Because if there’s one thing we’ve all had to realize in this very individual time we live in, it’s that we are all deeply connected to one another. Perhaps a virus was needed to teach us this?
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