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Less Catastrophe, More Inconvenience: Finding Empathy in the Wake of COVID-19

Working from home has always been a bane and a blessing. On the one hand, I love the flexibility, on the other, it can get a bit distracting when other people are around. Enter COVID-19. As a father of three, a Safe Family host, and a husband to someone in healthcare administration who has been told they can’t go to the hospital, my “home office” is now just home.

Now, let me put that problem in perspective. As I have reflected on the way the COVID-19 events have encroached on my small corner of the world, I have also realized just how good I have it. All the kids are healthy, Kim and I have jobs that allow us to work remotely with no disruption in our income, and our social network is fantastic. In the end, it seems that we will survive COVID-19 despite some minor bumps in the road.

That said, I have also realized that a lot of other folks are probably having a tougher time. I can remember working as a personal trainer and being dependent on clients coming in for their sessions to make enough to pay the rent. I remember the days when I was a valet in college and having parties and gatherings cancel would have taken my cash flow to zero. I remember when Kim and I didn’t have savings to fall back on when things ran tight.

COVID-19 isn’t a trivial problem for any of us. At the same time, for many of us, it is less catastrophe than inconvenience. Take a moment from being annoyed at the less-than stocked shelves at Walmart or the closure of your favorite pub on St. Patty’s Day and consider that the ambiguity many of us are feeling right now is a way of life for others.

As I wrote in my latest piece for Moody Center, “…there are members of the body of Christ around the world for whom sickness is an unfortunate norm, scarcity of resources a continual hardship, and persecution an imminent threat.“

I don’t mean to minimize the challenges any of us are facing. Change, no matter how small brings loss and loss can create a very real sense of insecurity and helplessness. Rather than trivializing our personal experience, recognize that in this moment of ambiguity, you have the opportunity to understand better how many others live on a daily basis (COVID-19 or not). Take the opportunity to develop the sort of empathy that will last well beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Lord, help us to be a people that is resilient in our trials recognizing that we do not live on what this world can provide alone, but in conforming our lives to the wise order of your Kingdom. Give us hearts that have compassion for others. Place within us the desire to join with those who are suffering in prayer and in service. Amen.

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