A year ago I saw the COVID lockdown as a month of Good Fridays. I now see the past 12 months as a year-long Lenten observance.
The pews at my local parish are filling back up with the faithful. The social distancing (which apparently has no evidentiary basis but was a SWAG* imposed on a nation), is making it challenging to find a seat, but in time that restriction will also be lifted.
Michigan's restrictions on religious observances were comparatively mild, likely due to the considerable size of the various faith communities and the precarious political balance that exists.
I also credit the leaders, particularly the Catholic bishops, who attacked the problem of restrictions aggressively and invoked sound science whenever possible. This made it very difficult to claim clearly arbitrary or anti-religious restrictions were based on some sort of science. The Diocease of Lansing notes with some satisfaction that there are no documented cases where COVID spread through Mass.
My faith has ground throughout the ordeal, as this blog has perhaps illustrated. What was a "zen room" in our home (a combination exercise/mediation area that used to be a formal dining room) has now been made into a "petit shrine" and filled with icons and Christian religious art. We even added some holy water for daily use. We still have the exercise equipment, but the floor mats do excellent service as kneelers as well.
A year ago, Michigan Catholics were reduced to taking "spiritual" communion, and while we can now partake of the Host at Mass, the Precious Blood is still being withheld and the holy water founts remain empty. Not quite there yet.
But just as winter's grip is inexorably weakening, so are the restrictions. Schools are coming back into session and I noticed that one-way signs at the grocery stores are gone. Legacy media are still trying to keep the old panic alive, but no one cares. Lockdowns didn't stop the spread a year ago, and they won't stop it now.
Lent is almost over, and so I think is the year-long Lent of fear and overreaction. It brought a lot of stress and hardship, but as with all evils, God ensured that goodness was brought forth that otherwise never could have been. For that we can be grateful.
*Scientific Wild-Ass Guess.