The angst that history has recorded of families divided during the Civil War, brother against brother, father, uncle or cousin; sisters, mothers, aunts, relatives of every age and gender, torn between long-held beliefs, cultural practices, and personal opinions, plays on my mind as I view the discord amongst family and friends as we endeavor to love one another, respect each other’s opinions, and still function somewhat cohesively in light of the stressors of our day. It has been a long while since such overt divisive events as the pandemic have set up camp in our country. The invasion has been subtle and covert, like the hatch of a parasitic worm that is growing and multiplying as it seeks to take over its host. And like a cancer growing, the host, our country, is seriously ill.
A wise friend once shared the analogy of the effect of crisis on one’s psyche. It fills up one’s balloon, so that all the other equally important points of one’s life become obliterated from view. It is overwhelming; it is suffocating; it is all one can think, imagine, see. It becomes one’s primary focus. And if fueled by fearsome rhetoric, valid or not, one’s focus and fear remain high.
How to find common ground in such a state of chaos and unrest, over widely varied opinions regarding this invisible disease that plagues our nation and world? How to find trust in government officials and media who have betrayed our trust? Who have proven questionable interest in many of the issues of our day? There is much to consider as we each endeavor to ferret out the truth for ourselves, to find the right path to follow, and to love one another in the process. It has been a challenge. Am I basing my decisions on fact, fear, truth, lies? It is a conundrum when so much of our foundation as been shaken.
Somewhere in all of this I have found a place of peace I can run to to be still, listen to find wisdom beyond human understanding, and make decisions from that foundation. Man’s opinions are like a strainer trying to hold back the sea – all clamoring, yet where one place holds the sea back, another allows the water through. I have found a place where I am held securely, no matter what happens. Whether I live or die, my life is secure. And in that is my solace. My body might die, but I live on. It is my assurance. It is the Rock on which I stand, my secure foundation.
My hope for this country, for my family, and friends is that no matter our opinions, as strong as they might be, that we will never lose sight of who we are. That we could pop the balloon of fear and division, and reach for those good things that enhance and bless our lives. That in respecting each other we can look past our differences to what we share in common – a vast, grand country and values of common ground. Let those deeper things we share and hold dear knit us together. Look for preserving that which is precious and true lest we lose it. And remember, above all, that beyond ourselves Love never fails.