It’s Good Friday here in Australia.
I’m reminding my children, especially T1 who is bemoaning there is nothing to watch besides (countless, pointless) YouTube clips (with annoying American gamers), that when I was their age I went to church on Good Friday ALL DAY.
We were rushed out the door before 8.30AM and arrived back home at 9.30PM, sometimes later. The hours between were filled with three services, songs, prayers, choirs, brass band arrangements, homilies, people, Hot Cross Buns, pies, pasties and sausage rolls, sometimes cake, and bad instant coffee. And then, we repeated it all again on Sunday; this time with a more jubilant feel to the services. Obvs.
My three don’t get it. Of course they don’t. I never got the ‘back in my day’ chats from my own parents. I’d roll my eyes—internally of course, or behind my closed bedroom door—and think they’d gone a bit mad. So, I can safely assume that’s what T1, T2, and Our Girl are thinking as well. Mum’s droning on about her childhood again! But I wouldn’t subject my three to that level of intense and frankly, unnecessary, church attendance, and although I haven’t been to a service in over twenty years, I suspect that the all-day gatherings are not even offered anymore. The 1970s were a vastly different time to now.
Still though, there’s something about learning from a young age to sit still, be patient for over an hour—on an empty stomach too—be respectful, speak nicely to those present that builds a collective outlook in us all. Maybe? I don’t know.
What I do know is this bloody virus has us gripped in possibly the most singular epoch in history. We’re not allowed to be social; we must remain at home. And I get it, I do. But I fear how the world will look on the flip side of this isolation stage. Hubster was at the supermarket yesterday, and was forced into standing less than the required 1.5 metre distance from the customer in the checkout ahead of him. The woman got all hoity-toity with him because he wasn’t practicing social distancing. When he told me about it later, it raised a flag in my head about how individuals could behave with strangers once these restrictions are over: more cautious, more abrasive, less understanding, less welcoming. Quick to blame and slow to forgive.
There is a lot of good to come from this ’rona stage. We are seeing many humourous memes, and reading advice to take time to heal from the pace of life. Celebrities donate money to those less fortunate. Businesses flip production to provide much needed services or products to health services and professionals on the front line. Writers who are much better at the craft than me, use this period to gestate their opus. There are those with a positive outlook who boldly state this virus is exactly what the world needs to re-calibrate.
I don’t know about the last one. I don’t think the world needs a virus that has the potential to infect and kill hundreds of thousands of people, tank the global economy, interfere with students’ education and people’s livelihoods, and scatter unhappiness and loneliness around like chook feed.
But I do hope, truly, that the ship of a collective spirit hasn’t sailed forever. I hope it is docked somewhere just off-shore waiting for us to board again when it’s safe.