As Our Country Opens Up
As the country opens up after a year + of shutdown due to COVID-19, let us not forget the lessons that we have learned from this year of pandemic and just jump back into our lives as they were before it arrived in March 2020. Let us take a deep breath and remember what this country was like before—we were harried and hurried, people rushing from task to task trying to keep up with the insanity of our lives without a thought to whether this life was sustainable and for how long. Having the time at home for many of us helped us to realize that we are not in charge of our lives, that we can only react well or badly to what has come into our lives. That we can live in gratitude or resentment.
COVID clearly highlighted some of the inequities in our country:
First, that the “essential workers,” along with doctors and nurses were the most exposed to the pandemic. And that they bore the brunt of exposure to the virus and taking care of the COVID patients.
Secondly, that Black Americans and Latinos have less access to our health care system. The elderly, especially those in nursing homes were also highly vulnerable to the disease. In fact, in many of those nursing homes the disease would experience a flare-up affecting many patients at once, because the nursing homes were ill-equipped to handle such a contagious disease.
Thirdly, the death of George Floyd by a police officer kneeling on his throat shocked a nation which had not understood how many Black Americans are killed each year by police. His death shocked many who took to the streets to protest police violence.
Fourthly, many poorer people in rural areas have no health care option for them. The need to travel long distances, the cost of care, transportation problems all contribute to a lack of access to health care for the rural poor.
Let us not forget all those who suffered greatly in this pandemic—those I have just referenced, plus those who caught the disease and often suffered aftereffects, and those who died from COVID and their families who still grieve their loss. In addition, we can look at the turmoil of the last election and the attack on January 6th on Congress and wonder how we will be able to heal the divisions in our country and the lack of agreement of how we will deal with the problems that we have.
One great lesson from the pandemic is that we are all in this together. We were all threatened by the disease. We all were shut down in our lives. We could all help each other just by wearing masks and socially distancing. We could all get vaccinated and reduce the effectiveness of the virus. How can we continue to see that what affects one of us affects us all? How can we get along with our fellow Americans even when we disagree about policies and the solutions to our problems?
Surely, this is where a faith in God and in His kingdom will guide us in the future. Our country’s motto is “All men were created equal.” Now is the time to live that incredible idea, that we are all created equal to each other by God—rich/poor, black/white, Latino/Asian, male/female. How can we embrace all the people in this country whether we agree with them or not? How can we be grateful for the lives we have been given and even the pandemic which so changed our lives? How will we live out God’s love in this country and in the world? These are the questions we need to address deeply, before we rush out into the world to recapture life as it was before the pandemic. So…Stop and take some deep breaths before stepping out. Acknowledge our dependence on God to help us through anything and everything. And commit ourselves to being obedient to all that He asks of us.
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I stopped to take stock of how I live in light of what I learned during this pandemic? Or am I just going back to my old ways? Have I asked God how to walk the path before me? Do I trust in God fully as I reenter life?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are grateful for our lives and trust in God in all things. May we follow His wisdom for us in all that we do.
See more blog posts and offerings at patsaidadams.com.
Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts every month. 5.17.21s is entitled “Following God’s Direction.” Sign up to receive these as monthly emails at the website.