As we now find ourselves several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully, we have learned some lessons along the way. With the world turned upside down, our lives altered, and uncertainty the daily norm, these days have been fertile ground for growth in our lives. What have we realized about ourselves, others, and life in the midst of a global pandemic? What insights do we have now that perhaps we didn’t consider much prior to everything?
One of the lessons that I have learned or at least have been reminded of is how we are all interconnected. Our actions and behaviors affect other people’s lives. With the COVID virus being so contagious how we live can have huge implications on other people. Hence, through it all, I have chosen to wear a mask and do my best to practice social distancing in order to protect those around me; family, friends, and strangers. While there are some who feel as though things like “wearing a mask” is some kind of a violation of their freedom, I see it as an act of compassion toward others. If my doing something might benefit another person, it just seems that it is the right thing to do. This is especially true as followers of Jesus who taught us that loving our neighbor was one of the greatest commandments. The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi would speak to us of this truth when he wrote, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2: 3-4) Paul simply reminded us that we are called to live lives that place the interests and needs of others above ourselves. In fact, as Christians, we shouldn’t even need government authorities to ask us to do it; we should have already been leading by example. I wear a mask during these days because Jesus would have worn a mask.
Mr. Rogers, who knew a little about being a good neighbor, once said, “The underlying message of the Neighborhood is that if somebody cares about you, it’s possible that you’ll care about others. ‘You are special, and so is your neighbor’ – that part is essential: that you’re not the only special person in the world. The person you happen to be with at the moment is loved, too.” COVID-19 has reminded me that I’m not the only person in my neighborhood. As Christians, we have a responsibility to those around us, not just because our government instructs us, but because our Lord has already told us the way to live in this world: love one another.
Hopefully, when all is said and done with COVID-19, we will not forget the lessons that we have learned and live our lives spreading a little more love to those around us and considering the needs of others before our own. That’s the kind of living that makes a difference in the world every day. Or as Albert Einstein would say, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Maybe this will be the new normal.