There are many competing emotions and thoughts filling my heart and mind, during these COVID-19 Stay At Home days. I have fear for those who are on the frontline of this global pandemic—including my daughter who is a paramedic. I feel deep sadness for those who are suffering from the disease, as well as those who face economic devastation due to the quarantine. I feel despair as I see the way the virus has disproportionally affected the health of racial and ethnic minorities. I feel hope, as I hear stories of people who sacrifice to help another. And, forced to stay home, I feel gratitude through reclaimed meditation and prayer practices.
One of the most troubling emotions and thoughts I have is in response to the apparent politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic. These times are challenging in so many ways. And people are bound to respond to these challenges in so many ways. I admit to feelings of anger and distress as I see the deep divide COVID-19 is exposing in our society through protests and calls for choosing the economy over life. If I am honest, these feelings turn toward judgement of people who I simply don’t understand.
In one of my daily meditation books, Twenty-Four Hours A Day, the reflection for the day pierced my heart. It provided a recalibration and re-centering for my thinking:
Try never to judge. The human mind is so delicate and so complex that only its Maker can know it wholly. Each mind is so different, actuated by such different motives, controlled by such different circumstances, influenced by such different sufferings; you cannot know all the influences that have gone to make up a personality. Therefore, it is impossible for you to judge wholly that personality. But God knows that person wholly and He can change it. Leave to God the unraveling of the puzzles of personality. And leave it to God to teach you the proper understanding.
As I try to process all these emotions and thoughts, I can be overwhelmed. My faith calls me to lean on God—to trust God. Only through this surrender of my own agenda, and recommitment to see God’s presence in all, can I find understanding –and ultimately find the courage, and love to work for charity, justice and peace.
Through Holy Week, we saw Jesus endure betrayals and violence—ultimately succumbing to death on a cross. Only after going through this pain and suffering did he find the gift of resurrection and new life. So too, we must be patient and steadfast as we go through these times of desperation and suffering. We are called to know the truth deep in our heart: God is present. If we walk through these challenges with grace and confidence in God’s steadfast love and presence, we will come out the other side whole and healed—both personally and as a community.
This is not easy. But this is the challenge of our day.