Yesterday, we picked up groceries. As we drove into the shopping center, we rolled past business after business with no sign of life inside. The jeweler. A hair salon. A small boutique. A flower shop. And I was overcome with the term “nonessential.” Oh, how these businesses are essential to these families. My heart broke over each small business owner that I knew longed to be at work, engaging with their customers, and feeding their families. I whispered a prayer for each of them.
The burdens on my heart (and I know many of yours) right now are sometimes almost too much to bear. I push them out of my mind, only to feel guilty, knowing that those burdens are there for a reason.
The ugly reality of all this doesn’t disappear if I push it out of my mind. It’s important that we be real and look into the eyes of those who are being most devastated by this. And that’s part of the problem; we can’t. We’re so disconnected from each other and reality right now, that I don’t think we even truly see the desolation that’s happening around us. And that applies to both those who have lost loved ones to COVID, and to those who have lost businesses. Those who are barely scraping by, and those scared about their futures.
Truth be told, the media has fanned the flames of fear, and it’s spread like wildfire. Many of us have more time on our hands than we have ever had, and it’s hard not to get sucked into the narratives that are being acted out in front of us…it’s like horrible theater that we can’t look away from. I encourage us all to think for ourselves, to ask questions, to challenge those narratives.
Through all of this, I have to continue to check myself so I don’t fall into the trap of fear. I once heard “fear does not stop death, it stops life.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ever feel fear about my kids’ and grandkids’ futures…the freedoms that I was able to have as a kid are something our children will never be able to experience. And I think I’ve mourned (and probably am still mourning) that.
But, I do have hope. When I remain deeply grounded in my faith, and cling to that faith as my moral compass, there is comfort there. When my faith remains constant, chaos can whirl around me, but my heart remains calm.
In these uncertain times when much is out of our control, here’s what I know we CAN do:
Lift others up.
Say what we mean, and mean what we say.
Put our faith in God, not in man.
Refuse to spread rumors or lies or hate.
Pause before speaking.
Remember that we are all human, not robots on the other side of the screen.
Focus on the whole person, instead of the flaw we may see.
So many people are hurting right now. What will we do with that opportunity?