COVID-19. That’s what’s going on. A virus that has the potential to kill a human being – and has killed many – is infiltrating communities all over the globe. The virus is not racist, sexist or biased in any way. It doesn’t care if a person is rich or poor; well-educated or never graduated from grade school; elderly, middle-aged or youthful. What qualifies a person for COVID-19 to settle in is only one thing – being a human. The danger with that qualification is that being human means being vulnerable. Let’s face it, Christians all over the world just celebrated a holiday that illustrated that even God in human form was physically vulnerable to death.
It is that human vulnerability that I want to write about now. My heart is hurting for so many people right now. The people who have been infected with the virus. The people who have watched as loved ones have died from the virus. The people who have been unable to earn money to support their families because of the virus. The people who are willing to put their own lives on the line to help others who have the virus, or continue working to ensure that all people have food and supplies in spite of the virus. The list goes on and on. And my heart continues to hurt, as I am certain so many other hearts hurt now, too.
Sadly, what has surprised me during this time is the way people are using words (knowingly or unknowingly) to hurt the already hurting world. Social media outlets have made it too easy to say what is on our minds without thinking about who we might hurt in the process – specifically, people we may have never even met, talked to, or know anything about at all.
As I scrolled through one of the social media platforms I subscribe to this morning, I saw something that shocked me and then brought tears to my eyes. Someone I respect a great deal in life had posted an article about a minister that had “defiantly” held church services after some stay-at-home orders had been put in place. The article reported that the minister had contracted COVID-19 and had just died from it. The person who posted the article, wrote these words above it: “Can’t fix stupid.” When I first read those three words, I gasped. Then, I started to cry. I do not know anything about that minister. I have no idea what kind of life he was living. I don’t even know if he had a family to speak of. But, I am certain of one thing: he is dead. While I believe everyone is entitled to have an opinion about whether or not he should have behaved differently when stay-at-home orders were put in place, I do not believe anyone has the right to mock him in his death. In fact, reading those words just above the article has made me stop and think about many of the judgments that have traveled through my own mind – some that I have even spoken to others – since this crisis began.
- People who have ignored the stay-at-home order to go shopping for home improvement supplies have angered me because I don’t think that is essential right now. What if one of those people is fixing a roof for a neighbor, or working on house projects with a child who is home from school and missing their friends?
- The elderly person shopping for groceries without a mask or protective gloves has made me shake my head and wonder what they could be thinking, going out unprotected. Maybe that person’s children live in a place too far away to help, or maybe they can’t afford to purchase a mask or gloves.
- The discarded gloves and masks in parking lots of grocery stores have caused self-righteous condemnation to rise in my gut towards those unseen people who littered. Do I know anything about the fear that those people were feeling when they quickly stripped off their protective gear and sped away in their cars?
I could go on and on here, but instead I will end this rambling with one bit of clarity that all this has offered me. If I have never spoken to someone, I cannot know what that person is thinking, feeling, or dealing with in life. Therefore, unless my life is being put in danger by the actions of another person, I have no right to judge, shame, or condemn someone – especially someone I have never even met – for their reaction to the current crisis. What I do have a right to do is protect myself; which I will do to the best of my ability. Beyond that right, I also believe I have an obligation as part of the human race. That obligation is to just be kind while this is going on – it costs nothing, and it just might serve to help brighten someone else’s day in the middle of one of the most trying times of our lives.
Best post ever.
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