The term “lockdown,” is now associated with the attempt to slow or stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The virus is real, the risks are real, and the lessons learned from the lockdowns are real.
Some of the lessons learned were intended, others were not.
There is legitimate debate about the efficacy of the lockdown, the wearing of masks, and social distancing. One thing is not debatable, the lessons learned are real, but many of the unintended lessons may be the most real, and the most unsettling.
For example, we have learned that:
- Infants and small children have difficulty processing emotions and perceptions without the benefit of full facial expressions,
- Children deprived of diverse social interactions do not develop as healthy interpersonal skills as children participating in actual group settings,
- A virtual world is a flat-screen world without the depth of experience filled with the normal nuances of human life,
- Personal isolation can quickly morph into feelings of distress, distrust, and fear with real harmful psychological and physiological consequences,
- People can be divided into two classes, those who comply, and those who do not. Those who comply care about others, and those who do not are a threat,
- The elderly, infirm and otherwise physically vulnerable can be protected from friends, and family for their so-called “own good,” to the point that they live and even die essentially in isolation from the very thing they need most – the presence of the ones they love,
When people die, there is no obligation for a full funeral.
- A small group of essential personnel can perform a truncated (or online) service,
- Cremation is a cost-saving, and efficient way to dispose of the body,
- Science so-called rules the day, and the risky experience of natural life must be altered according to protocols even if they seem arbitrary, unwarranted, and even prove ultimately ineffective,
- Once the compliance lines have been drawn, no matter the evidence, it is not likely that either side will admit to being wrong,
- When people are told they have to do something whether they like it or not (even if it is for their own good, and the good of others), their foot seems to automatically reach for the brake, and the sudden stop creates conflict,
- Both the best and worst intentions can be equally manipulated for political advantage, and social engineering.
These are not all of the unintended lessons, there are more, but they are buried in the lives, hearts and minds of the millions who have, and are still, learning the lessons of the lockdown.
The unintended lessons learned are perhaps the hardest.
They teach us about the uncertainty of the human experience, and they are real and inescapable.
So, is there one ultimate lesson to learn, that has the power to enable us to face any other lesson in life (intended or unintended)? There is. Here it is:
“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12,13 NASV).
If you have learned that lesson, you will have learned the secret of surviving this or any other lockdown.
Dennis D. Frey, Th.D., President
Master’s International University of Divinity