During this time of ‘lockdown’, I have found my life patterns have changed. I have had time to do and to watch things that I would not normally. One thing I watched was an online video where they placed two strangers in a room and asked them to give their first impressions of each other, to the camera in front of the other person. The other person then told their life story. It was a social experiment about how our preconceptions and first impressions affect who we engage with, who we speak too, who we even acknowledge in the street.
The current COVID-19 situation has left many people lonely and isolated. It has meant people that ordinarily would be self-sufficient and able to get on with life on their own, needing the help of others to do basic things like getting food or collecting medicine.
It has also caused a change in the way lots of people have acted in response. This time last year, who would have imagined the sheer number of people who would volunteer to help in the response to this situation either through local and national volunteering initiatives or just by pushing a note through neighbours doors saying ‘I’m here can I help?’. Who would have imagined that as you walk down the road almost everyone you meet acknowledges you, says ‘hello’ or asks if you are ok? Who would have thought that we would stand out clapping for our health and support workers when normally we would give them no thought?
Our world seems to have changed, I wonder how many preconceptions have had to be put aside as neighbours of different generations help each other or a volunteer who you have never met delivers medicine or calls for a chat.
In Ecclesiastes 4: it says 9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
How true these words are. It is better to go through life together, with each other and for those of us that believe, with God. I hope and pray that when life returns to more like normal, whatever that is, we keep some of these changes, that we, as a society continue to put aside our preconceptions and continue to care. Two are better off than one, for they can help each other, succeed.