We are all in a tense moment in time. Just a few months ago, many of us were enjoying family and friends. We were planning vacations, on vacation, or returning home from vacations. Many were working in jobs they loved, or at least enjoyed going to. Life seemed normal.
Then, suddenly, the world got flipped upside down and we are all trying to figure out how to maintain normalcy while being told to stay at home. The virus has overtaken everyone’s thoughts. It has challenged people to be creative in lockdown. Parents are figuring out how to entertain their kids. If anything, a positive can be found in the way it has forced many of us to slow down.
Sadly, through the tension, we have also seen the dark side of humanity. Social media can be a breeding ground for hatred, anger, harsh words, and much more. A system that was developed to draw people together, has unfortunately pushed many of us apart.
There are some things, especially during this season, we need to stop doing. I mean, a couple of them would be great to stop doing forever, but I know it will be hard enough to stop now, until we are able to interact in person again. So, how about we stop…
- NAME CALLING: Look, we are all stressed. We are all getting overwhelmed with information that may or not be true. People have different ideas on how this situation is supposed to be handled, and some of the ideas are pretty good. The reality is, many of us are just trying to figure out how to cope with a situation out of our control. We need to remember we are all in this together. This is not a time to beat people down for their political views. It is not a time to make people feel less than because they are not as financially secure as you. It is a time for us to come together. Let us truly be united, and that can be demonstrated by using kind words and encouragement for all. Ultimately, this could make us stronger in a time of collective weakness.
- SHARING FALSE INFORMATION: I know, instantly you’re probably thinking, “How can we know? What if my sources are different than yours, and they have different facts?” That has actually been an argument toward me recently when I challenged people to fact check. Anyway, we can always find sources that fit our narrative. We can easily find things that share negative words about people we don’t like. We need to ask ourselves, “Is this okay? Can we settle for one-sided information?” “Should we be supporting false narratives?” “Should we continue to share stories that we are choosing not to research, just because it fits what we believe?” I submit we are causing more harm than good when we click share before reading different perspectives, or take the time to read the full article. We need to be aware of our own bias. We all have it. We can’t be a part of the problem. Let’s be better, especially now, when people are trying to figure out what is true.
- POLITICIZING EVERYTHING: Even in this pandemic we can’t get past drawing lines in the sand. IT’S A PANDEMIC!! Everyone is hurting. Everyone is struggling. We are all trying to make sense of it all. We may want to point fingers and blame people, but honestly, it won’t do any good. It doesn’t change anything. So, why do it? This virus doesn’t care whether you vote blue or red. It doesn’t care whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice. It couldn’t care less if you like Trump or Pelosi. If it doesn’t care, then maybe we should put our petty politics aside and work together to serve each other. Find a way to listen to each other and care for your neighbor. Maybe you need to ask yourself, if someone who votes differently than you got this virus, would you care for them, or wish them the worst? If the answer is the former, great, keep reading. If it’s the latter, stop reading and figure out why you care more about your politics than humanity.
- RACISM: I read that there was actually a group of white supremacists who wanted to get the virus and spread it to people of color. Who does that?! People with so much hatred and hurt in their heart that they would want to see others suffer. We are hearing stories of people being mistreated due to their ethnicity or perceived connection with where the virus was first detected. I am not even going to write it, because I know you know, and also I don’t want to feed into that rhetoric. Again, who cares where it began because it is everywhere. If we find ourselves feeling anger toward people who may come from the region just because they come from there, we need to be willing to humble ourselves and admit we are wrong. Let’s end the idea that people are inferior based on the color of their skin. Let’s realize we all are impacted by this, so we need each other. If you have fear or hatred toward a person of a different ethnicity, put yourself in the situation where you need one of “them” to help you. Would you accept their service, or push them away? What if “they” come up with the cure, would you take it? We are not so different. Quit allowing yourself to believe the lie that we are.
- IGNORING EACH OTHER: This is a historic event. This will define a generation. This will be in our memories forever. We will never be able to escape this. Don’t take this time for granted. Focus on your neighbors. Learn their faces. Pay attention to the needs of your family. Take time to listen. Focus on the struggles and fears being shared by others. You are not the only one effected by this, so take the opportunity to consider others beyond yourself. Quit ignoring each other. We will no longer be able to believe we have nothing in common with our fellow person. This has united us. In a weird, unfortunate way, we have been connected. This is our new reality and we need to hold on to each other through the process.
I wonder what life will be like after all of this? I keep thinking people are going to be timid when they hear someone sneeze or cough. I imagine people being afraid to eat out. I believe, for a period of time, people will hesitate to gather together, wondering if they can get sick. It may only be for a moment, but this will have lasting effects on our society going forward.
Yet, I believe if we can start to stop these few things, perhaps we will be closer together at the end of this. It’s up to us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are all going to be reaching it at the same time. My hope is, we will be closer than six feet apart when we exit the darkness, into the light. I guess, only time will tell.