It’s a common phrase, and we all know what it means. One word—COVID—seems to cover so much. I wonder how much and for what we’ll blame COVID in the coming years and decades—our feelings of isolation, the reason we weren’t with family, the reason we struggle financially, and much more. And COVID has certainly impacted those areas, if not in our personal lives, in the lives of friends and family, which means we’re personally impacted as well as our communities. I imagine in many years, there will be a COVID clause of sorts to explain dips or spikes in statistics or explanations in conversations. Future generations will have a different perspective and not quite get why people refer to the COVID years as impacting individuals and culture in similar ways that people who didn’t live through the Great Depression and World Wars can understand the depth of some of the struggles and the long-lasting effects.
There’s a difference between identifying the influences toward something and placing blame in a way that makes us think we have no choice, no responsibility, no options other than to throw up our hands and say this is just the way it is. We do the same with politics. It’s all the Democrats fault. It’s all the Republicans fault. Or maybe we just generalize it to all liberals or all conservatives. Has COVID impacted our lives, and does it continue to impact our lives? Yes. It does.
I know some people will say, “It doesn’t impact my life! I do what I want, and if you let it impact your life, that’s on you.” Sure, it impacts us differently, but COVID has had many ripple effects across families, communities, and the world. It impacts us all whether we want to admit it or not. We need to be honest about it. And that includes not blaming it for everything. It’s a balance, and we’ll be finding it for years.
What impact has COVID truly had, and how we can acknowledge it and move forward with the ripple effects of that impact? How can we use the opportunity to choose to heal relationships and bridge differences? How can we be healthy and mature enough to have different experiences and baggage yet acknowledge each of us can heal and grow and respect others’ processing? How can we explain to others who might have a different experience and share in a way that is authentic and doesn’t alienate, blame, or minimize someone else’s perspective?
How can we be respectful and healthy as we move forward? How can we be better because of our struggles, whether it’s COVID-related or not. Because even without COVID, the past year-plus would have had enough challenges. Some of it is COVID related, but some is not. How we deal with it all going forward—personally and relationally—is important.