Watching the live news updates on BBC the last few nights, I’ve been struck by the disparity of the comments, coming one after the other.
I’ve felt the force of the frustration and the upset of the unknown.
I’ve felt pity for the leaders speaking; human beings who are trying to do their best at an impossible balancing act, but who have become the targets of collective anger.
I’m feeling for the people who are feeling the loss of livelihoods. I feel the fear of business owners who don’t know if they will survive this time round.
I am devastated for special needs families who have gone so long now without vital support. They must be on their knees with weariness.
I feel the disappointment of those who have weddings coming up and for whom everything is up in the air. Should they postpone or forgo their once-in-a-lifetime dreams? It feels like an impossible decision to me.
I feel afraid for domestic abuse sufferers who are indefinitely confined to their private nightmares. Where can they escape to now?
I am gutted for grievers who are not feeling the physical presence of those mourning with them. How can they cope without someone to hold them close?
I am disappointed for our kids who have just got into a routine of education only for it to be unsettled again.
The struggle is real. The challenges are closer than ever, for so many.
And yet, I find myself dreaming… longing and praying, with:
Hope that we will stop allowing ourselves to be so divided by our opinions
All of us can so easily fall into the trap of callously labelling and categorising people. This is not a case of the ‘faith-filled versus the fearful.’ Or the ‘reckless versus the ‘responsible.’ Or the ‘selfless versus the selfish.’ All of us have good days, and bad. Days where we make wise choices, others where we make the wrong ones. Days when we are fearful, and days when we are brave.
So often we are so consumed by what separates us that we forget what we all share. We all have in common the human condition of being finite and prone to weakness and frailty. If we acknowledge our shared finitude, we can be united in it and strengthened by the fact that, we are not alone. No one else gets it right all the time, either.
Hope that we will stop pointing the finger of judgment
Oh we are so good at judgment. Suspicious glances at the person behind us in the shop who is coughing. Shaking our heads in disapproval when we see guidelines aren’t being followed. Glaring at young people who aren’t ‘social distancing.’
We aren’t so good at self examination though. Whatever happened to the plank/s in my own eye? Please God, open my eyes to see what I need to fix in my own life before I become so focused on fixing other people’s behaviour.
Hope that we will see through the lens of compassion
I’ve loved some of the crowd funding initiatives I’ve seen on Facebook recently. Fundraising for operations. Dieting for charity. Climbing mountains for a good cause. Donating clothes for people in need. It’s amazing to see the compassion rise up in people as they understand and respond to genuine need.
And let me suggest that what we all need right now is a good dose of compassion.
Because when we look at one another with compassion, people cease to be an inconvenience, or a hindrance, or an irritation, or an enemy. They are just people. People with good points, great points, poor points and ugly points. People with a story. People who need grace, just like you and me.
What will this (very real) struggle bring out in you and me?
Yes, this time is super hard for everyone, for different reasons, and in very different ways. Crises have a potent power to divide. To intensify the judgmental tendencies within us. But challenges also have the potential to bring out compassion in us.
There’s a very special kind of plant that blooms in the aftermath of forest fires. It’s called the fire poppy. For fire poppy seeds, intense heat is their very signal to sprout.
What if, when we are under stress and duress, what bloomed in our life was compassion first, always, every time?
We are all human
We are all finding this hard
Let’s not label or point the finger
Let’s let this furnace bring out a blaze of compassion in us rather than a flame of judgment.
The struggle is real, but what will we let it bring out in us?