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Published July 2022
By Helena Smrcek

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

It may seem that 2019 was the last ‘normal year’. As we lived through the pandemic, and tried to adjust to the uncertainties, many almost lost hope that life may ever be ‘normal’ again.

Yet the world keeps turning, even though the supply chain issues persist, the conspiracy theories took a back seat to terrible news of war, and the heated pro and anti vaccine arguments are a thing of the past, replaced by the worries of rising inflation.

But not all news is bad. Life is slowly resuming its usual flow, despite the sky-high gas prices and the shortage of labour. Our churches are open, kids finished their school year in class, and we are able to travel once again.

What will our legacy be, when the yet unborn generations look back and see how we coped? What have we learnt? One can say that the pandemic served as a catalyst to magnify our differences, increase our hoarding tendencies (just think toilet paper), and challenged our mental health. Can we find something positive in the fallout of the lockdowns and quarantines?

Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash
How about the countless acts of kindness, the time we spend together binge-watching movies, baking bread and purposely walking outside. Reclaiming the hours spent commuting, as working in pajama pants suddenly became acceptable. The home improvement projects sitting on the back burner, finally done. Swimming pools in backyards, new gardens, and adopted pets. Friends and relatives connecting online, through video calls and chats. I dare to say that the resilience of human spirit won the battle against a vicious virus.

My husband and I, as thousands of others, were finally able to bring closure to our losses. We took a trip to honor the memory of his parents, both passed in 2020. As we sat with his sisters in the living room sorting through family pictures and memorabilia, I felt grateful for the opportunity to see them again. It dawned onto me that this ordinary evening is nothing less than an extraordinary blessing. And then I have made a conscious decision to live every day to its fullest, not because of fear of some virus or a craze dictator, but because it is a gift from God. Perhaps the greatest lesson I have learn from this pandemic, aside from what facemask offers the best protection, is not to take anything for granted. Life is precious and I’m convinced that God wants us to enjoy it, every day, from dusk to dawn.

I look back at the past two years and realize how pointless were the arguments and how damaging was the fear of the unknown. God had seen us through. Help was always a prayer away. Unable to attend church, we found a podcast and made its encouraging messages part of our day. There were days I listened for hours, to keep my spirit propped up. I learnt to pray for the little things in life, as much as for the big ones. My husband and I started to read short devotionals before our breakfast, and we resumed praying together.

Not sure if any of this was actually ‘visible’ to others, but to my surprise, people started to ask us questions about God. We prayed with, and for others, like never before. The doors suddenly seemed opened to Jesus centered conversations. The seeds were well received, and we felt grateful and humbled.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
And perhaps this is the greatest benefit of this entire pandemic. The whole world slowed down, and many had a chance to contemplate the true meaning of life. Eternity is ingrained in all of us, and faced with death, we long to live forever. Where else would one find the assurance of everlasting life then in Jesus Christ our Lord? God wasn’t surprised by the outbreak, He remained on His throne, even though at times we were not so sure, but true to His nature, He took the worst of circumstances and turn them into something beautiful. For His is the Kingdom, the power and glory, for ever. Amen.

About the author...

Helena Smrcek, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.