COVID-19. It has changed the way we live. I split my days working as an outreach worker, and then in the evening, work as a coach/counsellor. What changed for me is that I am no longer out and I certainly do not reach for anyone. This past week I have spent my days on the phone but I have become keenly aware of just what a powerful position I am in. Taking call after call, people are looking for help—and while I cannot help them as I do in outreach, I can take the time to listen and let them know that they are not alone.
As an outreach worker, I am tasked with finding the homeless. This at times, places me in the city, deep in the woods, on the beach and all the cracks and crevasses that many people would not want to go. What I am doing now on the phones is every bit as important. Having conversations that no one wants to have. Listening to someone who has nowhere go. Letting them know that they are not forgotten and that someone cares. Directing them to whatever resources I can. What I am not doing is feeding the fear.
What I am not doing is feeding the fear.
While I truly believe that people are inherently good. Many are panicking and acting out of fear. Running to the store and cleaning them out. Watching people who are usually kind, now acting cruel. Fear causes us to act indifferent. And sometimes we lose our better judgement. I implore everyone to not bite. Yes, COVID-19 is bad but what makes it worse is losing our humanity.
COVID-19 is bad but what makes it worse is losing our humanity.
I spent 20 years working with HIV and AIDS. In the midst of the worst of it (late 80’s and early 90s), I saw people treat people in ungodly ways. The abandonment, cruelty and isolation. The name-calling, not treating and condemnation. What was the take away from that time? Fear brings out the worst in us. So again I say, don’t buy into it.
There is nothing wrong with being scared.
As the face of our world is changing rapidly day by day, take a deep breath and realize we are all in this together. Let our good deeds overcome our fears. Let our faith breed compassion. One does not need to believe in God to have faith and surely all can benefit from kindness. There is nothing wrong with being scared. It is what we do with that fear, that defines us as a race.
One does not need to believe in God to have faith and surely all can benefit from kindness.
I close with this simple thought. You do not have to be an outreach worker, to reach out. Someone who may be at a disadvantage. Someone who is currently letting their fear get the best of them. Someone who just needs a reason to believe in good again. Be that person. While fear can be powerful, compassion is the remedy. Use tomorrow as a springboard from fear to faith. Not only will your body respond to it but so will your community.