*This post first appeared at Our Sunday Visitor: https://www.osvnews.com/2020/04/20/the-value-of-life-an-unexpected-blessing-in-the-middle-of-the-storm/
As a Floridian, I’m used to the rush and rumble of hurricane season. Being quarantined feels like a similar drill: gathering supplies, overconsumption of snacks, board games, and boredom. There is also the obsession with news updates, the what-ifs that cyclone through conversation, fear of the unknown, and the prayers that calm the storm of anxieties within.
The main difference between hunkering down for a hurricane and huddling in our homes for a quarantine is that the hurricane only lasts a few days. The storm passes and the focus shifts from preparation to recovery. Being stuck in the purgatory of this virus, not knowing when or if life will return to normal; being isolated from family and friends; having the promise of cherished events broken; the loss of income and freedom, all while the looming fear of losing life centers itself as the eye of the storm, has cataclysmically and almost instantaneously redefined life.
As I have feebly tried to wrap my head around all of it — the world-wide scope, and the dire implications of noncompliance, I am in absolute awe of the measures that have been taken to protect lives. Could it be that we actually value life after all? For so long, nations have chosen warped notions of freedom by legislating the killing of the unborn; they have confused justice with life-taking judgment through the use of the death penalty; and they have chosen money over the mercies of caring for the poor, neglected, and suffering. The heroic efforts that are in place to protect and save lives are unprecedented. The recognition of the value of life is a welcome gift amidst this suffering and sacrifice. It’s a chance to not only redefine life in terms of our routines but to re-root ourselves in the purpose of life by resurrecting God’s command to love our neighbor that for too long has been buried under the debris of sin, selfishness, and self-reliance.
We have a chance to change, to turnaround the devaluation of life that permeates normalcy, and to simplify the overconsumption that distracts us from the compassionate care of loving our neighbor. I know that no one wants what’s happening now. I know that people are hurting. I know that first responders are exhausted and overwhelmed. We are scared about the future. People are dying and mourning and despite whatever spin you put on it – the effects of COVID-19 are devastating. While we have surrendered many freedoms, we still have the power to make a critical choice for ourselves and humanity. When all of this is over, will we value life, love, and care for our neighbor as we have been commanded or will we return to the spiral around self and the dizzying decay of its whirl?
In the maelstrom of this pandemic, our choice has been made clear. In a hurricane, the eye is the only peaceful part of the storm. Amidst the devastation wrought by this pandemic, may we open our own eyes to the unconditional value of all life and commit ourselves to a lifestyle that prioritizes love of our neighbor. It’s up to each of us to ensure that when this storm ends, a rainbow awaits.
I hope this finds you and your loved ones well. I have so many thoughts about this time. One of my favorites of which is thinking about how we have been given an opportunity to slow down and reconsider life and our role in showing love. How would you like to see the world change?