As we all struggle with the heartache of no more hugs, isolation without close connection and long days feeling friendless in suburbia, many have reached out online and on the phone to long-lost friends they now have time for.
Enriched by the re-establishment of amicable relationships, life in this current, pandemic polarity seems easier to withstand, with years of convivial conversation to catch up on.
Personal experiences at work, at home and at play take centre stage in these timely narratives, with anecdotes of life entertaining across digital platforms. More free time has invited more sharing and caring than one could previously imagine, with those now working from home and schooling their own children able to indulge their leisure in aspects of life once shelved as insignificant.
Realising that rewarding relationships are actually as relevant as a roof over one’s head and food on the table, people are renewing contact with old friends to inspire a sense of empathic humanity in these strange and surreal times.
Yet, over the years, many of us may have fallen out with old friends through anger, abuse or argument, jettisoning these relationships as past their use-by-date with conflict resolution seemingly impossible.
By stubbornly adhering to one’s own intransigence and unable to acknowledge the value of another’s point of view, friendships can be disappointingly disturbed. Labelling these as toxic, those so-called friends became has-beens in life, banished to a too-hard basket of manipulation and malice.
However, this pandemic has made me challenge past perspectives about some ex-friends, understanding that time can heal all wounds and foster a new beginning with people who were hitherto endearing and special in my life.
The threat of COVID-19 has evoked a compassionate response in my psyche, a spiritual tolerance for hoping everyone stays safe and well, without harbouring any grudges or grief for previous misdemeanours; all hurts now subsumed by a more sensible sanity.
As Roman Stoic philosopher, Seneca The Younger, proposed in the first century: “Time heals what reason cannot”. Certainly, the pandemic defies all reason and however long its impact, it seems the right time for mending broken friendships and building new bridges of amity.
In these extraordinary days, the pandemic can offer a time for healing and forgiveness of others in fondness and good faith.
Appreciating a kindness of language permeates Proverbs 16:24, asserting “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health for the body.” And aren’t those what we all need now?