Recently, I overheard an interview discussing the staggering loss of life from this pandemic. Nearly 100,000 deaths in the US alone so far, on top of devastating economic and psychological repercussions. The host and his guest were talking about our disturbing inability to lay politics aside and simply grieve together as a nation, the way we did after 9/11. Their conversation got under my skin. Normally, I try and swat away my unsettling thoughts so I can stay calm and productive, but this morning I just sat with them. I allowed the magnitude of this tragedy to sink in. I let myself feel it. And for the first time since the dawn of Covid-19, I cried.
I wept for those families mourning their loved ones. I wept for the people who’ve lost their jobs and careers. I wept for the healthcare workers. I wept for teachers and students. I wept for canceled weddings and graduations. I wept for parents having to decide between their kids’ physical health and mental health. I wept for pastors and priests shouldering conflicting congregational needs and opinions while trying to navigate these murky waters. I wept over the polarizing hard lines in the sand drawn by unyielding political rhetoric keeping us spiteful and dangerously at odds. I wept over the scathing tweets and sarcastic memes killing our empathy and decency. I wept over viral fake news stories and conspiracy theories poisoning our brains, our speech and our hearts.
My gosh, we’re so broken.
There’s something very equalizing, however, about our brokenness. No one’s immune to it; we are all susceptible. We’ve all hurt and been hurt. There’s blood on all of our hands. No one’s politics or religion has gone untainted. We’ve assumed the worst about each other. We’ve all tasted the bitterness of our own hypocrisies. And we are all in the dark about what lies ahead. We are all grieving losses of one kind or another and bearing the heaviness of our collective brokenness, our shared pain, even while continuing to point fingers and build bigger walls.
This pandemic has shaken me awake and suddenly I feel naked and exposed. I see myself for what I am, just as petty, foolish, and susceptible to falling as any and everyone else. I have embodied the pharisee more than the Good Samaritan. I have fed my own pride and desires while letting my neighbor go hungry. I’ve justified my sinful biases. I’ve arrogantly appointed myself as judge, daring to place conditions on Christ’s lavish unconditional love and mercy, and I am so ashamed.
Whether I have an hour or fifty years left on this earth, let it be spent on repentance. And may that repentance burn up all of my hardness till only humility, gentleness and compassion remain. Please forgive me. I am sorry for adding to your suffering. I apologize for letting my passions get the better of me. Can I grieve with you? Can we call a truce? Can we drop our weapons to the ground and nurse each other’s wounds, that something beautiful might grow up from out of this wreckage?