It’s (NOT) complicated…

I came across this quote from Bob Goff today:

When the pandemic began, there was a lot of caring-for-others talk. People wanted to thank those who were continuing to go to work, in order that many of us could safely stay home. People wanted to thank those who were caring for the sick (whether COVID-19 or otherwise ill). People wanted to look out for their neighbours and their friends as well as their families. I often found myself moved to tears by the outpouring of love-for-others that was evident all around.

But now we’ve been in it for a while. In Ontario, for the most part, we’ve moved into Stage 3 of reopening. Parents are looking ahead to September and trying to assess the risk of sending their kids back to school. Gyms and theatres are opening back up to those who feel comfortable going. And everyone’s thoughts and decisions are complicated, highly contextualized by their own family/home/work situations, not to mention their own personal level of risk-readiness or risk-aversion (I’m so highly risk-averse it’s sometimes absolutely ridiculous!).

And these days, people are – I think – just a little bit shorter-of-temper these days. Quick to judge the thoughts or actions of others. Less full of good wishes for those doing the jobs we don’t really want to do ourselves. Annoyed by the difficulties and delays caused by physical distancing measures. Tired of not being able to predict what the future holds.

And I get it, I do. The mental health toll that the pandemic is wreaking on all of us is pretty immense. It’s not terribly surprising that we are wearing thin at this point.

But here’s the thing – as followers of Jesus, this is precisely the moment when we need to be more loving, more patient, more generous, more kind. This is the moment when our adherence to the things Jesus taught about how to love others is being tested.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, (and hopefully long beyond tomorrow!) may we rise to the occasion. May we live the simple and complicated ethic of loving people, because it’s what Jesus would have us do!

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