Covid In a Generation of Instant Gratification

For a Generation of Instant Everything, Covid19 has been a painful reminder that not all problems can be instantly resolved. Only a scattering of people in my life have welcomed social isolation. Then there is the constant fear of catching a disease with so many unknowns. Would we be among the lucky, who have few symptoms? Or are our genes marked for the unlucky pool, for whom the disease is devastating, leaving a lingering illness which never quite goes away? 

Our prayer chain at church has carried concerns for a man his forties, and another in his late 50’s. We’d barely learned the name of an older woman, before we learned she had died of Covid19. Family members are frantic when they learn a case has been diagnosed in the facility their loved one is in.  Prayer concerns keep coming.  A recent one asks prayers for a friend’s son and daughter-in-law, both in an ICU. The son isn’t doing very well.

Early on there were those who went out of their way to whip up anger and resentment toward any Governor who issued a Stay at Home order.   At one point nurses in Minnesota protected access to three major hospitals, when a drive through rally against Stay at Home orders threatened to block routes.   Some were attacked as “Not real nurses.” I wonder what that felt like, to have spent your life in ICU’s saving lives and have some incensed person deny your existence, your calling and your caring as a nurse.  

Anti-Shutdown protesters  arrived armed with guns, which have no useful purpose on state capital steps, Confederate flags and venomous vitriol.  All the while shouting slogans that the pandemic was a fraud.  Today, some of those same people were arrested in Michigan after planning to kidnap their governor, because of  her  pandemic restrictions.Lawsuits have shown up across the country, claiming mask mandates are an infringement of individual freedom.

It is no mystery why nations whose social compact is stronger, are doing better than the United States. We live in a bizarre moment of history where truth is called fake, and facts don’t matter . . . Even when those facts are the difference between life and death.  Some distant day, people will reflect on this time in our nation’s history. They will judge us according to our love and compassion for each other. They will wonder how we could have been so deceived, that we allowed our politics to play havoc with our nations health.

Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32. Speaking in a very different context, his words continue to be true.  Jesus’ concern for all people would have us be mindful of our actions and how they impact the most vulnerable among us. 

10 thoughts on “Covid In a Generation of Instant Gratification

  1. You are so right: [Future generations] “will wonder how we could have been so deceived, that we allowed our politics to play havoc with our nations health.” I suppose we could lay the deception at the foot of the father of lies, who has convinced some people in powerful positions (both in government and business) that wealth and power are the pinnacles of life, to be achieved and maintained at all costs–even the destruction of our nation as we know it. Little do they realize how fast the decades go, and when they face the door to eternity, none of their wealth or influence will matter.

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  2. I think that things were better socially during the initial lockdown because we were all rather subdued and fearful but more inclined to pull together as a result. There seemed to be a greater understanding of the needs of others and acts of kindness were commonplace. But this second wave has produced significantly more distrust of our government’s decision making, and increased the self-interest aspects. Although there are exceptions, of course, and we’ve been blessed in having neighbours who still look out for and support us. Other countries and cultures where protecting and helping others is a normal part of how they function will react according to their usual customs, I guess. We really do need to learn to keep calm and carry on as much as possible to help save society and the economy.

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  3. Shirley, this is sad, sober and salutary reading. Things are less heated here in terms of the population carrying guns or trying to kidnap our politicians, but noisy vitriol definitely exists with strong objections against loss of perceived freedoms. Such opinions consider the purely personal yet leave no room for being caring and compassionate toward others.

    This rings true: “Some distant day, people will reflect on this time in our nation’s history. They will judge us according to our love and compassion for each other. They will wonder how we could have been so deceived, that we allowed our politics to play havoc with our nations health.” It’s a concern we share in the UK, especially for the youth who may have emerged relatively unscathed by sickness so far, but are definitely struggling so much in terms of their education, missed opportunities and mental health. It might sound trite but prayer remains one of our most powerful support systems and weapons as we seek a calmer way forward. Thank you for opening up this painful conversation. It’s a necessary one.

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    • I have family in Taiwan. The contrast between our response and their response to the pandemic, could not be greater. The social compact of looking out for each other and protecting each other is so different there. Thanks for the reminder that prayer continues to be a “powerful support system” in getting through the pandemic, and calming our nations.

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  4. Your post makes me weep today, wondering whether there is anything we can do to change hearts. And then I realize it isn’t my job. My only job is to hold my own heart open when it wants to close.

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    • Maren, Thanks for those wise words. Holding our own hearts open when there is so much hate is enough for each of us to do. It helps me to remember how much of the hate is fueled by intentional misinformation, designed to create division and fear, by those who profit from it.

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