I need to come clean…and fess up. I have written 3 blogs in two weeks and have posted none of them. In short, I never felt a “peace” about any of them. They were finished and ready to post…but that little something I’m supposed to feel before I hit the “publish” button never came. At first I was frustrated…then I became angry. For about a day and a half, I had decided that writing blogs was silly and that I would never do one again. I wrote about COVID-19…I wrote about us being in a place I never thought we would be. The blog that was finally published entitled “Where Am I?” contained tidbits from the 3 that never made it to press. Even that one went out with some unrest at heart. Truth is, it’s really hard to know what to say at a time like this. These really are unprecedented days. In addition there is no shortage of thoughts and opinions as blogs, videos, and message apps have exploded onto the scene. My blog is virtually a non-issue amidst the quantity that are out there. Nonetheless, I still want to feel ok about what I’m sending out…even if it only gets a few “hits” or a couple of “likes.”
This morning I woke up with a very clear mind about something I could write about that might be considered worthy of taking the time to read. After several failed attempts and multiple mental blocks…I finally thought of something that I have been stewing on for weeks. Weeks ago, when the words “social distancing” made their way into our vocabulary, a request was made of every American to do something “unprecedented.” We were asked to avoid groups of over ten people, to stay at home-if possible, and to keep our distance from one another to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The request was unheard of and would deeply impact businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, etc. At first, some people grumbled while others declared with holy boldness they would never comply. These new “marching orders” were not initially received well at all.
In time, reality set in. We began to see an exponential increase in the number of diagnosed cases and sadly, the number of deaths…which is now approximately 30,000 in our country and 122 here in Kentucky. In just a few days everyone started paying more attention…and now the virus has largely captivated our undivided attention. Life as we know it is much different. Being confined to our homes is a mixture of blessings and curses. On the blessing side of things, I’ve been able to read, study, and pray with a freedom I’ve hardly ever known as a pastor. On the curse side of things, I can’t visit the hospitals and I’m being told not to visit anyone from our convention…so that’s more than weird when you’re used to being in hospitals several times a week.
But let me address the “unique perspective” I mentioned in the title of this blog. For this to make sense…we have to be “dirty honest”…an expression I’ve used for a very long time. As Americans, we are not as good as we used to be about doing things for the good of other people. The rise of individualism has brought with it a general “unconcern” for anyone’s wellbeing other than our own. The nation now flourishes with division, sometimes hatred, and selfishness on a scale we’ve never seen before. The words “I don’t care” are thrown around with the frequency of prepositions in a novel. These marching orders were actually asking us to think of other people…and their good. We were asked to not merely think about ourselves…which we are very good at…but to think of how our actions could seriously affect other people.
Even now it’s hard for me to remember a time in recent history where we as individuals were asked to think about others by any government agency. I remember sitting in front of the television about a month and was listening to the news report that many were saying they were not gonna comply with any demands that would hinder their lifestyles in any way. I sat there stunned that some folks really didn’t care what was happening. Then…as I was processing all of this…I saw on the bottom of the screen a quote from an NBA player who said it was shamelessly selfish to ignore what was being asked of us. In all fairness, most of us do not gain moral footing from pro athletes in our country. That’s not to say there’s not some fine guys and gals out there…but many often convey the textbook picture of “not caring” about others…while some go out of their way to be a help.
I thought about the player’s sentence. He said it was truly selfish to ignore what was being asked of us…to distance ourselves…to limit our actions…so that others would be safe. In short, our government was asking us to care about others…and to not just focus on ourselves. In 2020, I would definitely call that a unique request and a unique perspective. While it’s sad that things had to get this bad before many would even consider such a drastic step…my prayer is that good will come from it. Perhaps we will remember some of the grand historic qualities that made our nation so great to begin with…when caring about your neighbor meant something…when the individual wasn’t the center of the universe…when the “greater good” had weight. Who knows…maybe this will remind us all of what we could be once again. Thinking of others before you think of yourself…sounds almost biblical…oops…wait a second…IT IS! 🙂
Blessings to all!