… you can say “it’s a hoax” and “it will go away”, but like world leaders have found out, this was not the case for COVID-19. A crisis does not go away because some demagogue wishes it so. A crisis like a pandemic knocks at the door, then bashes it in and unleashes hell.
COVID-19 has crept in like an invisible terrorist that has taken the world hostage. Randomly, it chooses victims, and with heinous cruelty, it focuses on those already weak and vulnerable. The rest of us are required to co-operate. One wrong move might mean the death of another. Suddenly, words like ‘independent’ and ‘individual’ are exposed for the fraud they are. Our individuality means little if we cannot collaborate with or recognise the importance of ‘all’. Solidarity is what COVID-19 fears the most.
Solidarity can only truly emerge when we deconstruct the barriers that have been set up through toxic narratives. Toxic stories that, sadly, have been propagated through the clever messaging of some politics or the fear-mongering of some religions. Toxic narratives that divide humans into those who matter and those who don’t. Toxic narratives that create a Messiah-complex for the powerful, and diminish those seen as ‘weak’. Toxic narratives that divide us by race, nationality, gender, age, ethnicity, religion … Toxic narratives that do their very best to blind us from one of our great skills of resistance: Love.
When crisis comes knocking we have a choice to make – selfishness or love? A hard choice when we have been conditioned to listen to an alluring and embedded cultural story. A story that attempts to convince us that the pursuit of our own needs and wants is the most important activity if we want to survive. Crisis builds its devastation on that idea. COVID-19 is reliant on selfishness for its survival.
So when Global Crisis comes knocking at our door we have some decisions to make. Each of us decides what meal we serve this viral terrorist. Its favourite meal of human selfishness and greed? Or a lethal dose of sacrificial love?
Love that washes its hands often, so as not to spread the disease to another.
Love that buys just what it needs, and maybe just a little more to give to a neighbour in need.
Love that stays home instead of indulging itself at some packed venue.
Love that goes to great length in order to stand between this terrorist and the vulnerable and says, ‘Not on my watch’.
Love that picks up the phone and checks in on family and neighbours.
Love that gathers the table of life participants with tenderness. It speaks to Fear, Grief, and Anxiety, not with irritation and anger, but gentleness and kindness, recognising their role in protecting our lives.
Love that speaks to all of us in times like this from a sacred text written long ago … that there is nothing greater than love (including a terrorist virus) … that nothing separates us from love (including a terrorist virus) … and that in the end, all things may fail but that both in death and in life, love endures …
Selfishness in these times may bring us momentary comfort until we realise how we have enabled a pandemic and contributed to another person’s heartache. Love, on the other hand, calls us to choose the narrow path, the difficult path, of loving our neighbour as ourselves.
So what do we do when a Global Crisis bashes in our door and interrupts our peaceful lives? We respond by unleashing a virus of our own – a virus of love, kindness, compassion, respect, and consideration. The rest is History … because Love Always Wins.