By ROBERT LACOSTA
This article is the final one in a three-part series.
Local psychologist Dr. Brian Fast of CCAHope in Delmar cautions that the pandemic’s profound lessons need not be lost in a whirlwind of re-entry busy-ness.
Fast concludes that it would be easy-but-dangerous to give into the temptation to squander things like getting enough sleep, connecting with family and friends in a deeper way, breathing easier and taking time for reflective leisure.
“We can learn from a slower pace,” he said.
The psychologist postulates that the pandemic prodded people into thinking about hope, which could trigger some poignant issues about meaning and purpose and the greater things in life.
“My hope has never been about not getting COVID or living a long life or having great finances,” he offered. “I want those things, but that’s not where I put my hope. My hope is that in every circumstance I go through during the pandemic, I’ll respond in a way that honors and reveals what my God is like. My hope is that I’ll be a better man this week, this month and this year.
“If we place our hope in something we have no control over, we’re going to feel more anxiety, increase our cortisol levels and have a sense of panic. It’s bad for our bodies, and it’s bad for how we interact with others because our fear breeds fear in others, and we’re either going to push people away because they’re anxious about being around us or we’re going to create fear in them,” Fast said.
He then explained how true hope extends to our deathbed reflections.
“If you could have a videotape of your life that could be rewound or fast-forwarded and you found yourself on a deathbed and you were able to reminisce … what would be the most important things that you built your life upon?” Fast asks.
The pandemic unveiled the answer to that question.
“All the things that you thought were meaningful on your deathbed are possible every day living in this pandemic if we’ll reach out and take those risks and connect with people to smile with your voice or on Zoom or offer a word of encouragement or say, ‘I’m scared and I need to talk or pray.’… Those things turn out to be the most meaningful. We don’t have to wait to see if we survive COVID.”
Hope may then be the emotional vaccine for the symptoms of uncertain times.
The author’s books, devotional blogs and music is available on robertlacosta.com.