A theme emerged last week amidst national coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Newscasters began to frame hourly reports around their observation that the world and this nation will never be the same once we’re safely on the other side of the outbreak.

Talking heads in Washington and political pundits spoke of this pending cultural shift wistfully, almost regretfully, as they talked of changes sure to come in global and national leadership, a shift in the way companies do business and a big question mark tinged with the curve of recession hanging over economic discussions.

All I could think was I’m ready for change. Who says the imprint this pandemic leaves behind can’t be a positive one?  

Absolutely, we’ll grieve the loss of life and pray daily now that those fatality numbers will cease to rise. But, when it’s all over, I’m hoping for a better world  — a place where the kindness, generosity and grace folks have begun to share lingers in our midst. I won’t mind a bit if the sky seems bluer, the stars shine a little brighter and the air smells fresher.

This crisis has sobered many of us, myself included, by making us re-evaluate our priorities. I’ve greatly missed gathering with friends and family to worship and I’ve missed the hustle and bustle of weekend activities. I’ve also enjoyed quieter weekends of reflection and more time spent reading or taking a walk.

What really matters? 

Is it the money we make, the daily tasks we busy ourselves with, the looming bills that never go away, or is it the quality time we spend with family, the number of homemade dinners we’ve eaten together gathered around the dining table?

My heart warmed with the hope of brighter days ahead when I read of car companies shifting production to ventilators and T-shirt companies making protective face masks. Right here at home generous donors have stepped up to cover the cost of meals delivered to Pierce County kids with local schools shuttered, and families post encouraging signs in their front yards for all to see while others spend an afternoon waving to quarantined nursing home residents from a safe distance outside the window (Read those stories elsewhere in this edition).

My eyes filled with tears of joy and hope last week as I recalled the words to John Lennons’ hit “Imagine” in a new light:

Imagine no possessions / I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger / A brotherhood of man / Imagine all the people sharing all the world.

Mr. Lennon, you and I may still be dreamers, but today that dream seems much closer to reality than just two weeks ago when political spats and societal discontent drove us all apart. Maybe someone else will join us soon and the world will be as one.

Can’t you picture it?

 • Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at sgove@theblacksheartimes.com.