There is a very real crush of heaviness in the air. Since the beginning of Spring 2020, the elemental feelings of security that most people accept as life in the United States have been dismantled. In the midst of our normal flu season, it became clear that a new flu-like virus was quickly spreading globally and had arrived on our shores. The president’s office shut down flights, first to China, then to Europe and soon other countries did the same. We had to realize our global connectedness was now a recognizable threat.
We were no longer even free to move about the country – it was heavy.
Soon after, the news began daily reporting on cases and deaths due to this new pestilence. Cruise ships were held offshore, hundreds were taken by the governing bodies responsible for health into forced quarantine. The rest of the population was told to stay home to “flatten the curve.” We learned the names of federal officials like Fauci and Birx who were running ‘models’ for the sake of predicting the impact of the virus. Dire predictions were made and published in the Western world, describing tens of millions of people dying. Masks needed to be worn or sometimes not, we learned to social distance, we learned the importance of ventilators, we heard many of the normal political voices making statements that contradicted one another and therefore, could not all be true. We searched for a voice that would just give the facts and found cheerleaders for their brand of truth.
With all the bad news, a lack of simple, honest voices remains heavy.
When the statistics started to show some hope, we thought that 0.05% of the original prediction was relatively good news. A policeman in Minnesota knelt on George Floyd’s back and neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds with no concern for his victim who pled for air and eventually cried out for his mother. Our hearts broke. The black community felt the cries of a thousand other victims and took to the street to remind us that this has to stop. The anger of some came from grief spilling out. Antifa jumped onto our screens, disregarding the cause of the black community, and the Floyd family’s pleas for peaceful protest. They sought in their usual ways to be the loudest voice in the street. Sickened by the images, hearts torn by the stories of friends we know, and people we will never meet, we heard the sadness of the black community. Hopefully, at last, we will talk to each other and not passed each other. Perhaps listening and understanding might be a hand placed on the load to help lift it.
It is heavy.
The virus seems a minor story now. It is destructive to lives but it is not choosing any one group because of ethnicity or heritage. It is annoying and the growth of government authority always means a shrinking of freedom. But it is time to “mourn with those who mourn, and weep with those who weep.” There is a lot of loss and all of us are feeling its weight.
May I leave you with this, “bear one another’s burdens” and by all means “love your neighbor.” In so doing, live like Jesus.