Pandemic: Friend or foe?

By Christopher Clulow

‘April is the cruellest month’, or so T. S. Eliot would have us believe, a time bursting with new life set against a background of death and decay, desire placed in painful juxtaposition with memory. His words seem cruelly apt in this time of pandemic, where so many lives have been ravaged by Covid-19. We cannot avoid the surrounding noise of news reports recounting the toll of deaths, the heart-breaking stories of families who have been unexpectedly bereaved, the risks that lockdown pose for relationships already under strain, and the economic uncertainties that now will affect us all.

Yet this has also been a time of calm, a time for reflection as the roar of traffic as receded and the sun has shone through a clear blue sky unpolluted by human activity. We have time to experiment with doing things differently, maintaining some continuity with the past yet entertaining new thoughts about how we might be in the future. In our personal lives and professionally we may have been prompted to ask this question: do we unthinkingly want to get back to ‘business as usual’, or has the pandemic offered us an opportunity to grow something different and more life-affirming for the future? If so, it may have served to be our therapist.

28th April, 2020