What We Can Agree Upon About COVID-19

 By Kara Ranck

There are many words surrounding COVID-19 that trigger disagreement—or worse. We are all tuned to this crisis at different frequencies—even those who thought we were on the same channel. We communicate and all the other person hears is static. We walk away frustrated, sad, angry, confused. Will we ever be on the same wave length again?

As I continue to process what is going on in our world, I realize there is one word that we all can agree on and one shared human experience perpetrated by COVID-19—loss.

The one question that may bridge the gap between humans with different perspectives right now is, “What have you lost since COVID-19 hit?” And then we just listen. Here’s what you might hear:

Lost jobs, businesses, income. Dreams. Moments and milestones. Minds. Lives. Friendship, fellowship, family. Faith. Trust. Hope. Health. Freedom. Safety. Routine.

These losses might be involuntary or voluntary, perceived as big or small, but they are losses just the same and must be grieved in order to process in a healthy way. The next question you can offer may be, “How are you grieving your loss?”

For me, I experienced the loss of something good. Initially, I had deep heartache over this loss for many months. I travelled all the stages of grief—and continue to. The last few weeks, I again felt the ache of sorrow, missing what used to be. And so does every other person on the planet as they too process their personal losses. We can and should process them together.

If you are brave enough to ask the above questions, then I urge you to also have courage to ask this:

“Is there anything I can do to help you?” We cannot solve every problem or heal every grief, but we can offer what we have. Maybe it’s just an ear to listen, a weekly phone call to check in, or sitting on a porch together. Maybe it’s a food, clothing, shelter, employment, assistance. Maybe it’s child care or transportation. Maybe it’s connecting them with helpful resources that can offer greater, more specific help. For the believer, it’s offering prayer, fellowship, scripture, and song as well.

There is a pervasive lie right now that in order to care about our fellow human, we have to agree on all things COVID, cultural, political, or spiritual. We need to resist seeing one another as an opposing opinion, a threat, or a disease carrying vector. We are flesh and blood, beating hearts—humans. Don’t fall for these lies. They breed division, discord, and alienation with others. A house—a world divided—cannot stand (Mt 12:25). We will not have shared opinions, but we do have a shared experience. Tune into that frequency and start there. This is one way to love your neighbor as (much) as you love yourself.

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