There is a sort of indecency in seeking blessings amid a tragedy such as COVID-19. If we say that a piece of our lives is somehow improved, are we belittling the anguish of the thousands struggling for breath, the tens of thousands who have watched a love one die?
Yet I can’t help but give thanks for a change that seems to be working in my heart. I sensed it earlier this week when I dropped off my car for an oil change at a local dealership. It was comforting to see the two women behind the counter. They were the same women who have taken my keys and jotted down my name for the past five years, but on this morning their presence was an affirmation that normal is out there, that life is progressing. I was happy they were OK.
Walking from the dealership to my office, I passed a grinning fellow who warned me not to jaywalk across the highway. “Even though,” he said, “there isn’t any traffic.”
There was traffic, though. When a semi hammered past, spraying water nearly to the sidewalk, I wanted to be mad, but then I thought of an image I’d seen on a news site of folks lined up in some unknown town to hand free lunches to long-haul drivers. My first reaction had been an old one: cynicism. Why do we insist on elevating the routine to heroic during a crisis? Probably just some company seeking publicity.
Then my spirit shifted and it occurred to me, those truckers are heroes, aren’t they? And not only in this period of unique danger. They deliver the food that sustains my family, the fuel that powers my car. I am completely dependent upon them, yet I don’t know that I’ve ever offered thanks to or for them.
Grocery clerks are heroes, too. So are cops and firefighters, accountants and road crews, pastors and teachers. Anyone who extends a helping hand each day is heroic in his or her own way.
There was a song that made the rounds of Christian radio a few years ago. A prayer of sorts, it asks for eyes like God’s to see the value and the need of the people passing us on the street.
If there is to be a gift for me in this time of forced separation, perhaps it is that the scales will finally drop from my eyes and I will learn to see the divine worth of others—at the car shop, on the sidewalk, and especially in my own home.