This pandemic will eventually pass…

New treatments and a vaccine will eventually allow us to return to the world we once knew…

But if we learn nothing from this experience, we will have wasted a valuable opportunity…

Suffering is allowed in our lives to teach us... and to change us…

Will we remember what we’re learning during this time of isolation and fear and grief? Will we remember what we’ve learned about what’s really important in life when this time has passed?

Will we remember the people at the bottom of our society who carried us through this by keeping our society going?

Will we remember the healthcare professionals, the first responders, the delivery people, the custodians, the postal workers, the restaurant workers, the construction workers, the grocery workers, the food distribution workers, the truck drivers, the teachers who worked to teach our children online, and the myriad of unsung heroes who we never seemed to notice or fully appreciate before?

Will we remember the kindness of strangers and the humanity that so many have shown in this time of crisis?

Will we remember to be grateful for all of the blessings in our lives that we took for granted?

Will we remember that every human being has something of value to offer our society?

Will we remember that there is good in every human being because there is God in every human being?

Will we remember to celebrate small victories and to persevere through great difficulties?

Will we remember that at the end of the day… we’re not in control?

Will we remember?

Perhaps an even more important question is: Will we allow this time to forever change us...

To change the way we live... to change the way we see others... to change our hearts... and to change our world?

If we merely return to the world we left unchanged, all of this pain and suffering and grief will have been in vain… and that would be the greatest tragedy of all.

If we refuse to allow this experience to transform us we will have wasted this opportunity for self-reflection.

But if we do remember and vow to never forget... we will re-enter a new world that is far better than the one we left behind.

Not because the world has changed but rather because we have changed.

Suffering is always accompanied by God’s Graces.

But God’s Graces are only effective if we’re receptive to them… if we allow them to mold and transform us.

Will we remember… and vow to never forget?

Anthony M. Conti serves as a deacon at Our Lady of Fatima parish.