Photo by Virendra Verma
In the last week the major sports have canceled or postponed significant portions of their schedules. Schools have closed. Restaurants and bars have been shut down. Movie releases and production of TV shows have been postponed. I couldn’t have imagined this happening two weeks ago.
Whether you believe this is a real danger or an overreaction, you can’t help but notice the effect it is having on our daily lives. Just try scoring a package of TP! With everything that is happening in our social environment, it is not surprising that it is having an effect on our emotional environment.
We went to Walmart to do our provision shopping. There were just as many people in the store as usual, but the whole store was eerily quiet. I mean 4 am on a Monday night quiet! People were very subdued. They were like shocky crash victims just trying to get a handle on what was happening. Fear is rising. It would be easy to get swept away in its tide.
Everything in nature has its oppositional force; light and dark, cold and hot etc. The spiritual world is no different. We often think that the opposite of fear, is courage. It’s NOT. Courage is a response to fear. Fear’s true opposite is faith. Faith enables us to believe that every situation, crisis, or obstacle is creating fear can be overcome. If we can believe that there is a way to victory, something amazing can happen. Faith can spark hope.
Hope enables us to take our eyes off the waves of crisis and the mountains that stand in our way. When we stop focusing on the situation, we begin to see the things that we can’t see when fear has us fixated on the problem. We can see possibilities and allies. Hope breaks us out of tunnel vision and enables us to get a better perspective on the situation. Getting a new angle can reveal an unseen path around or through the mountain in our way. Getting perspective can temper a crisis enough to enable us to begin formulating solutions.
Hope may seem frail but it has a hidden strength. Like striking a match, hope starts out as a small flame. That small flame may enable another person caught in the darkness of fear to strike their own match. If you have even held one lit match beneath another you know that the resulting flame is taller than the height of the individual flames. Together the flames are greater than the sum of their parts. Hope thrives when we look beyond our fear filled situations and dare to join with others.
The next step out of fear is when faith becomes action. Love is faith in action. If we can risk joining our little flame of hope with others, that combined hope sheds light on the fact that we are not facing this crisis alone. We are joined with other people. We NEED to join together and love our neighbors as ourselves to survive this. Together we have enough light to begin to build tunnels through the mountain and bridges over the crisis.
Love enables us to come together and begin sharing each other’s burdens and fighting alongside each other. Then we can begin creating solutions instead of pulling in and hiding. Instead of hording in our fear filled basements, we can share our surplus. We can step out in faith and believe that others will do the same. When we put faith into action, fear has a way of dissolving like mist in the morning light.
These aren’t just words. If you look around you will see people ARE reaching out. People ARE coming together in small grass roots organizations like KC CARE and Spare a Square to deliver groceries and make hard to find supplies available. Companies like Scholastic are offering free online courses for students whose schools are closed. People are making resources available to maintain social connection. Teachers are offering digital office hours for kids to check in and chat with each other. Artists are using Facebook to do art classes for kids stuck at home.
People are gathering together in online groups offering practical solutions to the difficulties occasioned by realities this virus. They are offering encouragement, prayer and a listening ear. They are offering matches to illuminate the darkness of fear with the light of hope. They are loving their neighbor as themselves! When Love becomes faith in action, it’s more than just pretty words. It’s the opposing force to fear that gets us over crisis and through obstacles. It becomes the faith that saves us!
If you are in the Kansas City area and need help or can offer help PLEASE visit http://www.facebook.com/groups/spareasquare/