It’s been one year since the Pandemic began. No one thought on March 11th, 2020 that the next day the world would be thrown into a shutdown, and no one thought a year later we would still be dealing with it. Not a single person. It will be one for the history books, doctors and psychologists to study for the next century. We’ve all been affected in many different ways. It’s still too soon to sit back and say, “wow, what a ride that was”, but I hope we are on the final descent, and on our way down from this bumpy, air-turbulent ride. Like any major event, we are forever changed. After the Bubonic Plague in the mid-1300’s, there were improvements in medicine and health, a new way of life, and even the Renaissance period came from it. After the second World War, there were changes in countries, more women in the workforce, and it brought America out of the Great Depression. Since then, we’ve been on an accelerated pace of life, enjoying more freedoms, more economic status, more equality, and a more comfortable lifestyle than ever before. Much of that has been good, but much has also been covered up in the comfortableness and quick pace of our pre-pandemic lifestyle. This pandemic has made us stop, and it has pulled back the covers and exposed a lot of things. And just maybe, it was enough to stop the collision course we’ve been on for the last two decades – one of mass school shootings, violence, addictions, and coverups. It has not been fun or pretty this last year, but one that is sometimes necessary to change the course and move us forward in a better way. What will we choose? What will we remember or do differently?

The next day, March 12th, 2020, we began a new era. There are things in my regular, daily life that I do differently now. For one, I used to always pick up dinner at the grocery store on my way home from work, getting just what I needed for the next day or two. All of that seemed to change overnight. Our sense of security and casualness has shifted, even if it is a slight change. Here are some of those things that have changed in my life. What are some of the ways it has changed you and your family?

I buy 2-3 weeks of groceries at a time and stopped going to the store every day.
I keep a box of non-perishable food items and water stored in our garage.
I keep an extra supply of toilet paper on hand.
I keep my gas tank full.
I don’t make long-term plans in the same way I used to.
I realize I enjoy being around other people more than I thought.
I started listening to the radio again in my car (instead of Sirius XM) because I wanted to hear people talking.
I don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Material things are not as important.
I started paying attention to my health a little more, taking vitamins, and finally made an appointment for a physical.
I started locking my door when I went out for a neighborhood walk.
I no longer like going into the city. It has lost its appeal. (after the riots)
I keep an emergency bag next to my desk during the springtime tornado season after last year’s frightening storms. (I used to sleep through tornados)
I’m more aware of what faith really is. (which you won’t fully know until you’re tested)


The Pandemic means something different for all of us. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So here are some pictures I collected over the last year to tell the story. We can each interpret their meaning for our own lives.


My desk calendar from work – last day was March 12 before the shutdown


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Left work early to stop by the grocery store – I had heard the lines were getting long


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Some of the first pictures we begin to see


pandemic 2020 shutdown

Churches, schools and businesses close – canceling Easter, prom and graduation services


pandemic 2020 faith online

People turn to faith in new ways, and everything goes online – church services, schools, shopping


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An encouraging start, as I walk around my neighborhood in the days following the shutdown


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2020 pandemic food insecurity

Lines form for food


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Andrea Bocelli sings Amazing Grace from empty church in Milan, Italy on Easter


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The world has shutdown – no people, no cars – and the environment and animals take over


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The WHO and the mask debate


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Full blown pandemic mode


pandemic 2020 covid-19 racism

Chaos begins


pandemic 2020 riots

Riots and racial unrest emerge all over the country


pandemic 2020 racism

What happened to us?


pandemic 2020 mask up 2

A new reality


pandemic 2020 lifeandheartmatters.com2020 go away!


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Confusion sets in

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Thanksgiving – sort of.. no large gatherings allowed


pandemic 2020 cancel culture

Cancel culture and censorship ensues


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Government stimulus inaction


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One mask, two masks? Nothing seems to stop it


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Sporting events these days


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What could possibly go wrong…


And finally…

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The best is still to come. With God’s guidance, He will lead us to better things. May our souls be refreshed, our world be renewed with a better sense of purpose and justice, and may we all look to God for our hope and our future.


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About the Author

Sue McCusker is a writer, Bible teacher, and web developer who loves to share the stories of life, hope, and faith she sees around her every day. She has written for Guideposts and  Angels on Earth magazines, and teaches the story of God in women's Bible study.

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