We’ve been in and out of lockdown here in Italy more times than I count. And though they’ve varied in severity, they all have several things in common. They’re inconvenient and unpleasant. But even worse, they have been a great theft of our personal freedom and liberty. And from my observations, they haven’t worked.
Thankfully, restrictions during our summer season here were quite light. Only time will tell what the government chooses for the colder months.
Back to normal?
Even though things were back to normal to some extent during summer, we were grateful. Many businesses reopened, people went back to work, schools should be restarting soon, and hospitals are no longer overrun.
Hubby also started back at the language school where he works. Which was strange and challenging after 7 months off! And strange for me after months of blissful 24/7 togetherness!
We’re grateful he’s working again, but in some ways it’s like starting a new job! And how much he will work depends on the fear level. Will parents even send their kids?
Perhaps we didn’t consider the after lockdown enough. How will it be? What will have changed? Will we have to adapt to something new? Or will things just go back to normal?
A new society?
I can only speak about what I see here, and I’m observing as things open up, is that often attitudes, people, and mentalities seem to have changed. It seems like a different society!
Italy has always been an extremely demonstrative culture. Very touchy-feely, abundant hugs and kisses. Hands and arms waving everywhere when they talk and always gesturing.
But no more. Instead of coming up to greet you many back away, avoiding all contact. (Sure the arms still wave around. I think you’d have to tie them up to stop Italians talking with their hands!)
But the traditional kiss on both cheeks has become a rare species. Nowadays it’s the elbow bump or the touching of closed fists. It’s sad and doesn’t feel normal. 😥 And that’s because it isn’t!
But I’ve seen other fallout too, besides the ongoing social distancing and masks. The economy is struggling more than ever, with many jobs and businesses lost. And people are still recovering from the emotional and mental stress of being under house arrest.
Masks and social distancing are still required in closed public places, on public transport, in schools and churches, and at many jobs. And we are continually bombarded with the possibility that another big surge could happen with colder weather.
Ever back to normal?
Will things ever get totally back to normal? I think (hope) they will. But I’m afraid we’ll continue to deal with the after-effects for a while. We’ve already seen changes in travel, personal and public relations, economics, government, and everyday life. I pray we will eventually see it end and return to normal!
Good from lockdowns?
No, I am not saying that I think lockdowns are good. First off, they don’t seem to have worked. And furthermore, they go against the constitutions of democratic nations and are a violation of our fundament right to personal freedom and liberty.
Yet I firmly believe that God can bring good out of anything, even pandemics and lockdowns. He is never limited by anything or anyone. Many people have found, through being forced to slow down that they had lost sight of what’s truly important.
If nothing else, lockdowns have reminded us to place greater value on things like:
- Relationships and human contact
- Solidarity with others
- Freedom, especially freedom of movement and choice
- Freedom of worship
- Nature and the great outdoors
- Good health care
- Sufficient finances
- The value of using technology with others, and not just alone
After-lockdowns here hasn’t been an immediate return to the way things were. And now they’re saying that we’ll have to accept the fact that we’ll just have to get used a new normal. That things will never go totally back to the normal we new. I pray against that, for living in fear and separated from others is not a healthy way to live. It is not God’s way.
But no matter what, it’s important to keep looking for the bright side. Because God is always at work, and always working for our good and his glory!