This week will be one of the worst in U.S. history. The death toll from COVID-19 is expected to soar to a dark summit. The emotional load will be heaviest. We watch daily briefings like children eating vegetables: We hesitate. We flinch. We hold our noses, and do it anyway.
Grocery shopping feels dangerous. To wear gloves, or not? How many times should we sanitize our hands while we dodge people in the aisles? My local Whole Foods, typically buzzing with people, food samples, and eighties music has turned sterile, quiet, and somber. Vacant metal bins on the sprawling salad bar seem to scowl. Cashiers frown from behind looming plexiglass shields.
For Christ-followers, this dark week falls during our calendar’s holiest time. Seven days to reflect on the sacrifices Christ made in his short life, culminating on the cross and redeemed by the resurrection. Darkness giving way to light.
Believers or not, we’ve all seen light crowding out the darkness of this pandemic. Armies of volunteers flocking to help healthcare workers in the U.K. and New York. Unprecedented government relief packages, businesses like MyPillow transforming their factories to produce face masks, distilleries shifting from the production of alcohol to hand sanitizer, giving it to hospitals, retirement homes, and daycare centers.
I see our country making the most of what we have, creatively filling in gaps. We have plenty. We are using it to find solutions, together.
I see our country with courage in the face of much gone wrong. We can still endeavor to do the most good.
I see my friends—turned into ad hoc teachers, overnight—rediscovering the simple pleasures of a slowed-down life. I join them in both pursuits.
These are the real things. The things that will last long after we’ve all vanished from the face of this world. The things our children will remember when they regale their grandchildren with tales of life at the dawn of the COVID-19 age.