And I will come down and have talk with you there: and I will take some of the spirit which is on you and put it on them, and they will take part of the weight of the people off you, so that you do not have to take it by yourself Numbers 11:17 (Bible in Basic English)
Empty nights echo your name
Whoa, sometimes I wonder
Will I ever be the same?
The Four Tops (Baby I Need Your Lovin’)
Will we ever be the same again? You know, COVID-19 has changed our lives, and I think that they are changed forever. Not all change is bad, of course, and some of the things we have learned in the pandemic will actually help us in the future.
For example, we have learned that many meetings can be done quite efficiently on a virtual platform. Working from home will actually lower costs of some businesses and services. Hopefully we also have learned the value of better health practices, including mask wearing and hand washing/sanitizing. Because of these practices, I believe, as well as the high level of social distancing practiced, the seasonal flu this year was practically non-existent. Better attention to such hygienic practices really does work.
But the cost of these benefits was terribly high. The level of isolation, alienation, the limited options for fellowship and gathering, all extracted a heavy price on our mental and emotional health. And that is not to mention the educational losses that our children sustained. Maybe we will never know the true cost of this pandemic in those regards.
I do telehealth in my counseling practice, and that has certainly been a major blessing. New Creation Counseling Center administration cannot be praised enough for the quick and efficient transition to telehealth for the safety of all involved. However, telehealth has its limits too. I am not able to actually be in the same room with my clients, and there are certain cues and non-verbal behaviors that are simply missed.
It is ironic that one of the signal symptoms of COVID-19 is loss of smell and taste. One of the senses taken away in telecounseling is the sense of smell. The other sense taken away in telehealth is that of touch. Granted, these sensory losses are not always critical to counseling. However, it makes the experience just a bit more sterile. I find myself concentrating so much more on that screen to look for eye contact and eye movement, blushes, sighs, etc. that it can be a bit more exhausting than in-person sessions. In-person sessions allow a much richer contact.
So, we accept that there is a new landscape present. Perhaps another good thing we re-learned is that human presence and contact is so essential for mental health and stability.
In short, it reminds us again -we need each other.
Prayer: Lord, you have made us to rely upon one another, help us to do that in new and helpful ways, Amen