How to Change the World in 14 Days

change

Right now. < That’s when we need to get a grip.

If we wait… or hesitate… it’ll be too little too late.

If you read my previous post about the Coronavirus pandemic (Hi, Dad!) you know my opinion that PANIC!!! is not helpful… or healthy.

Not at all. But in the days since, I’ve seen another cultural trend emerging. And it goes like this:

Me first.

(Actually, I suppose that isn’t really a trend. It’s been the norm all along. It just hasn’t been quite as obvious.)

We’re all guilty of it sometimes. It’s hard-wired into us, self-preservation, survival-of-the-fittest and all that. But we don’t have to live by instinct.

We can choose instead to live for the common good. Because I believe that’s instilled in us too.

By someone who embodies goodness.

God.

(Believe it or not, you bear a striking resemblance. See?)

Frankly, I’m a little stunned by the pushing and shoving and hoarding and hysteria. (Toilet paper? Can someone please explain this to me… Does panic cause diarrhea?)

And then there’s the devil-may-care, I’m-not-scared, social-distancing rebels. Who flip the bird at scientists and medical experts… and refuse to make even the slightest adjustments to their own plans for the greater good.

Seriously?

Stop.

Because here’s the thing. All these precautions and protocols and postponements might turn out to be an overreaction…

Or they might keep people alive who otherwise would have succumbed.

See if you’re pro-life, then you ought to be advocating for all lives. The very young/very old, rich/poor, healthy/strong/disabled/diseased, white/brown/black, housed/homeless, conservative/liberal/moderate, law-abiding citizen/convicted criminal, straight/LGBTQ, Christian/Jew/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/Wiccan/atheist/Universalist/secular humanist, homegrown American/refugee/undocumented worker, people you adore/people who make your blood boil…

You get the idea.

Now would be a great time for us to start taking care of each other.

It’s great if you’re not afraid of COVID-19 (because living in fear is a killer too), but if you contract it – or asymptomatically carry it – and then share it… it could turn out that your nonchalance is deadly.

To someone’s grandmother or godfather or favorite aunt. To a beloved teacher or friendly cashier or war hero.

Let’s honor them by protecting them.

There’s a great line at the end of the movie A Few Good Men, when a dishonorably discharged Marine makes the realization that – in following orders – he actually failed to do his job.

We were supposed to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.

It’s not just our military or medical professionals that ought to be charged with the difficult task of fighting for the vulnerable. It’s all of us.

…If you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front… Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. ~ Philippians 2:1b-4 (The Message)

We’ve all read uplifting/inspiring/amazing stories about real-life heroes. Now’s the chance to be one.

Here are 7 things we can do – right now – to change the world:

1. Keep our distance. 6 feet, give or take.

2. Keep our composure. For heaven’s sake, can we please stay calm.

3. Keep our hands and households clean. Don’t forget phones/remotes/keyboards/doorknobs.

4. Love our neighbors. Look around. Who needs help? Lend a hand… or kick in a few bucks.

5. Love our families. Always lamenting that you don’t get enough time with the people you love? Me too. Here’s our chance.

6. Love ourselves. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s smart. Take a walk. Take a nap. Read a book. Bake a cake. Call that friend you’ve been meaning to call. Start that project you’ve been planning to tackle. Breathe.

7. Pray. For the sick and those caring for them: doctors, nurses, lab techs, support staff. For our government leaders, local officials, community and school administrators. For first responders and 911 operators. For hourly-wage workers and small business owners. For food-insecure families and our homeless neighbors.

We’re all in this together.

High School Musical fans, I know you’re singing the chorus. The rest of you, I apologize for the ensuing earworm.

The medical experts and healthcare officials all agree. We can do this. We can flatten the curve, lessen the impact, contain this virus and control the damage. We just need to do the hard thing.

Come together… by staying apart.

In so doing, we might just save a life.

(Or thousands.)

Wendy

P.S. While we’re fighting this battle on our own soil, let’s not forget everyone else. Let’s pray for the people of Syria, China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, Spain, Japan, France, Venezuela… Prayer may turn out to be the most effective anti-viral treatment ever.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen. ~ James 5:16 (NCV)

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This piece originally appeared at Wendy With a Why, published with permission.

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Wendy Holtz is a Midwestern writer, teacher and speaker, mother of five, and exceedingly grateful recipient of God's grace. A self-described "reclusive extrovert," Wendy adores people and parties and the happy chaos she calls home, but frequently and desperately seeks the stillness, nearness, and fullness of God in and through scripture, nature and artistic endeavors. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Holtz worked in advertising before taking a 20-year mommy sabbatical to raise five extraordinary human beings (and do approximately 9,437 loads of laundry). Over the years, Holtz has taught a variety of Christian education classes and Bible studies, mentored some remarkable young women, and facilitated dozens of interactive marriage workshops with her husband and soulmate, Steve. Holtz is the author of Treasure Hunter: A Field Guide for 12 Spiritual Expeditions and the keynote speaker for Treasure Hunter retreats and day trip expeditions. In her writing and teaching, Holtz passionately conveys her mission and message, taken from Psalm 16: In God's presence, there is fullness of joy.  You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter... or read her blog here:  Wendywithawhy.wordpress.com