When We Lost Control: Reflections from Italy During COVID-19
Luca Basta, a member of our Cross-Current Science group, has shared some of his reflections on COVID-19. Luca lives in Pisa, and has been in lockdown for some weeks.
We lost control… and it could be the best thing that happened to us
First China, then Italy, now all of Europe, and finally America. Everything and everyone stopped for a moment, but this pause has now become days, weeks, maybe months of isolation. My nanoscience laboratory in Pisa (at NEST) was closed 25 days ago, in order to prevent unreasonable risks due to working in close proximity in front of an atomic force microscope, a mass spectrometer or under the chemical hood.
During these three weeks, we all have faced different experiences, which we would have never expected. My experiments stopped right when I was about to submit my results for an international conference. A dear friend from the GBU (Italian branch of IFES) discussed his master thesis in videoconference, while friends and family were supporting him from a distance, in front of their webcams. A colleague from my office defended her PhD research alone, before a committee that sat comfortably at home. She only got to show off the socks with a graphene pattern (that she had bought especially a year previously) to her housemate. Meanwhile a 29-year-old Cameroonian student of the University of Pisa, positive to the SARS-2 virus, lost his battle with pneumonia, just a few months before his graduation.
Our daily life, always pushed towards the maximum reward in the minimum time, has abruptly crashed against the wall of social distance and isolation. Everything we had been planning for years and which seemed to be perfectly under control has been paused, postponed or even canceled, lost for good. COVID-19 has shown us that our lives are not in our own hands, it has revealed that human independence and self-sufficiency is nothing more than a delusion, just a dream which fades away in the midst of a personal and global crisis.
However, just as we are facing the inconsistency of our human control, a bright hope shines. This hope does not rely upon our limited capability to face problems, nor does it arise as a palliative care against our fears. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). God, the Creator of the universe and our fair, good and powerful Lord, holds the full and careful control of this world. Without any fear, confusion or vulnerability, the Lord oversees every situation making it all work together for the eternal good of the ones who put their faith in Christ (Romans 8:28). What more could we ever wish for, when the One who sits on the throne of the universe is asking us to rely on His wise and tender guidance?
“In fact, it reminds me that the progress, the move of grace in our hearts and lives, is not from dependence to independence but from independence to greater dependence on God.” P. D. Tripp
Only through acknowledging that we do not have control, can we really begin to depend on Christ, and put our trust and our life in Him.