Although the virus numbers top the news, and the airports are eerily empty, so far I have peace. I’ve never been a real doom and gloom person. I try not to let my “head fears” control my life. I’ve always been much more concerned with addressing the “heart fears”.
Head fears are: Can this really be happening? What if…? Will it be enough? How can I prepare? What if? These fears bring you deeper and deeper to the darkest of pits because once you get one question answered 100 more swarm into your head. They flit around from one to the other until we lose balance and panic, sometimes taking measures that make matters even worse.
Heart fears are much deeper. While admitting my 90 year-old mother in law to the hospital this week, the nurse said we could not stay the night due to Covid 19. I saw a fear in my mother in law’s eyes that came directly from her heart: “How can you leave me?” Although she doesn’t really understand the gravity of Covid 19, she understands the most fundamental of all fears: Will I be able to survive alone? Is there anyone who cares? These are heart fears.
Heart fears can lead to paralysis and depression and they are rampant right now in the service industry and poverty stricken areas. How will I be able to survive? Will I have to face this alone?
Covid 19 may be pandemic, but there are things far more powerful which can spread much more rampantly. They are mindfulness and compassion.
Imagine a world where people realize the difference between “heart fears” and “head fears” and take time to be there for each other, reminding each other that we are not alone in this pandemic. This doesn’t mean we don’t prepare for the things that could go wrong, but we include others in the equation so that people, cities, and nations know we are in this together. This is the ultimate rationale behind social distancing.
Each of us has a gift to share to help another. Some offer words of encouragement. Others give tests or shots. I have been particularly thankful for grocery stockers these days and I let them know it. So before you go on an errand next time, call a lonely friend and see if you can drop things off at their door. If you can sew, make a few face masks for the rest of us. Our awareness of how much we need each other will be growing far more in the days ahead.
Queen Esther was asked in the Bible story of old when faced with the demise of her people: Could it be that you were placed in your position for such a time as this?
The reality is we are all here for a reason in this time in history. What is your calling? Is it to offer words of encouragement and peace to a lonely friend? Bringing a restaurant take-out meal to a homebound person or babysitting for a fatigued medical worker? We all have special ways we can show what we are really made of to help others know they are not alone in this struggle. We all can give each other (and ourselves) a little grace, care and attention in the days ahead.
When we are mindful of “heart fears”, our “head fears” have purpose. What can I do, buy, say, or give so that others who are struggling will not feel so alone? What attitudes, thoughts and compassion can I model in the tough times that can bring us all closer to the light and not the darkness?
We could all use a little light right now. Reach out to God, hope, and others (with a 6 foot distance of course) and grab with all your might. Walk toward the light together. We may soon find that as we take our last breaths we don’t really care about the religion, political party or race of the person next to us. We just want someone there so we are not alone.
These words have stuck with me from a man dying of cancer when he was asked, “How can you be so full of love and peace in your last days?” His answer: “We are all in our last days, we just don’t treat each other like it.”
I think my new resolution is to treat others like we are all in our last days–not out of fear at all, but out of mindfulness and celebration for who we are to each other and the gift each day brings.
Do the most you can, with whatever you can, for as long as you can. The trail of light and love we emit, may give others the hope and peace they need to survive.