“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others.”Charles Dickens
What is this world coming to when an older, fragile-looking, and medically vulnerable woman is standing in line at a store with her mask on, and notices that the man behind her is only 3 feet away, and kindly asks him if he would social distance himself and his response is “I got my rights” and takes a step closer? He continued his obstinate stance making her feel uncomfortable… and potentially unsafe. Or overhearing someone say as a joke that we just got to let a few more of them die and then the line will start to flatten and we can go out again. Or listening to a radio newscasts where a woman has decided to go and eat breakfast every day in the restaurant because “ She is exercising her constitutional rights.”
Are any of these fine line situations? Fine lines are not static. They are smears of gray and many times indistinguishable. Has the woman in the restaurant ever read the constitution? What if that lady standing in line was the man’s mother or aunt? Would that actually make a difference to him? Should an American’s inalienable right of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness be exercised at the expense of other’s health or well-being? What right does any fellow human being have in naming any vunerable, marginal group as a them and joking about their expenditure as a means to a more convenient life. What is this- Nazi Germany?
Beware, think, pray, act. These are not fine lines!! Common courtesy. Empathy. Compassion. Self- sacrifice. Kindness. I think we all need a good daily dose of the Andy Griffith show. It has it all. Corny, saccharin-sweet, old-fashioned, mannerly, unhip as it is may just be (to some) could just be the balance that we need.
I recently read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Samaritans were considered to be so below others in status, that there was no need to even talk to them. They were the them. Jesus walked up to the woman and started a conversation. The woman was stunned. Jesus’ friends came on the scene and were surprised. Again and again, Jesus models for us that every human is important. Every person counts. It’s imperative that we care for the marginal, depressed, and disenfranchised… to the expense of ourselves and our comforts.
In times like these we are faced with challenging, personal decisions every day. Especially those of us that are the so-called elderly and medically fragile. We are faced as a nation in trying to determine the fine line between restarting the economy and protecting those critically susceptible to the virus. My hope is that these decisions are made from an educated, prayerful, compassionate mindset that never forgets that we are all in this together.