Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Today marks the first day that I will be re-entering the world outside of my house and returning to work. This, to some, is a good thing because I at least have a place of employment to which I can return. Trust me, I am grateful and I will not complain. However, I will state that the reason I am writing this commentary is that I feel the exact same way I felt when I elected to stay home because of my concerns about COVID-19.
Initially, I waited to hear what type of guidance we would receive from the government. I observed how my place of employment searched for and found a loophole to remain open during the lockdown as did some other well-known companies. I believe it bothered me because of the way the scenario was packaged and presented to us. It seemed as though the management thought we were a little short on intelligence and did not realize what was happening. We did and many of us responded by declining to return until the lockdown restrictions were lifted. Although I know some of the circumstances surrounding the others’ personal situations, we all had a common understanding that we were uncomfortable with the company’s response to the lockdown.
As far as I can recall, we have never been faced with a global health emergency on this level before. No one knew how to respond properly to this new scenario. No one had any definite, concrete answers about anything. The only thing many people knew for certain was that they were concerned (and legitimately so) because of what had been reported to that point.
In an environment wherein some level of guidance was provided by both federal and state governments, there were still those who refused to adhere to those guidelines. To me, on a personal level, that was a blatant disregard for my personal well-being and that of the people I love and I did not like it. At the same time, we could not enforce anything because nothing was truly being enforced in certain parts of the country because the reality of the pandemic had not really hit home yet.
It appeared that some government officials were waiting for the President’s blessing on their next course of action. Meanwhile, the numbers of those who were infected continued to increase. Then, the number of hot spots began to increase. Finally, the number of deaths related to this pandemic began to increase. Some people began to have a change of heart about the matter and began to take things more seriously. Yet, there were others who still were in a state of denial because they were opposed to closing down parts of the country there were not considered “essential”.
This is where I began to have an issue. There was this major discussion on what defines essential and nonessential businesses. The common understanding was those businesses that were vital to maintaining the nation’s infrastructure while attempting to deal with the pandemic were considered essential (i.e., medical, transportation, law enforcement, logistics, etc.). Certain companies redefined certain areas of their company’s daily vernacular to be classified as essential. My place of employment was one of them.
These companies preyed upon some of their employees’ fear of not being able to provide for their families if they were out of work. Some of the employees were dealing with the fact that schools were closing and this meant that someone had to be present at home to assist the children with their classwork. They had no one to watch their children while they were at work. The companies allowed the employees to use their vacation and sick time if they wanted to continue to receive their pay.
Some people were literally distraught because they did not know what to do. In my opinion, the companies were preying on these individuals and placing them in a position to make the difficult decision to remain at home with or without pay depending on whether they had the personal time or not. Yet, the executives were at home “working remotely” and sending emails about enjoying being home with their children. The only difference was the executives were still receiving their salaries without having to exhaust their personal or sick time. The people who worked in the retail stores were still being paid and not being required to use their personal or sick time either. So, needless to say, I was somewhat bothered because we were putting our lives on the line for a nonessential product that would not damage the nation’s infrastructure in any way if the company closed its doors. So I elected to follow the guidance of the government and “shelter in place”.
As a global community, we are all engaged in fighting the same enemy. We can accomplish so much more if we did it together…
Where’s The Motivation?…
As I stayed home over the past month or so, I watched daily updates concerning the pandemic. Some of the commentaries were disturbing. Some of it was comical because I could not understand the logic of some commentators. What is a very serious matter easily became politicized. Infections and death are neither Democrat nor Republican. They are not racists nor are they are concerned with socioeconomic status.
It is very disturbing to see the American public being held hostage by partisan politics when people are dying…alone. We have been isolated to such an extent that many people who have formerly dealt with different addictions and disorders are struggling to maintain their freedom. Imagine the difficulty of having to endure these moments alone with no support system physically within proximity. Virtual connections can only help so much in these situations. We are beings that require connectedness with others.
At this point, allow me to interject here that I am completely in favor of social distancing if it is going to help decrease the spread of the virus. But this has to be a unified effort by all parties, not just a few. I am in favor of closing businesses if it will assist us in buying additional time to develop a vaccine to help us confront this virus head-on. I know and understand that this is not the reflection of everyone within our country. This is fine. However, I do not believe that jumping the gun (so to speak) and reopening everything so quickly is the proper course of action at this time. Especially when there is still so much uncertainty related to containing the virus.
It is for this reason that I am still apprehensive about returning to work tomorrow. Some may say that the conditions of the workplace may be better than they were when I left over a month ago. This may be true. Conversely, they may be the same or worse. I do not know and I am not a fan of gambling with my life or the lives of my loved ones. I do not know if there is anyone taking this situation as seriously as I am. In other words, I am deeply concerned and rightly so.
At this point, I am preparing myself for re-entry into society outside of my home. This is not normal for me. Normal does not exist for me any longer. Some may say, “I thought you were a Believer. This is not a good testimony.” I would say to them that being a Believer does not mean we cease to be human. We still feel the same things that everyone else does. Our approach to life should be the main difference.
Was my writing this commentary “Christ-like“? I have never doubted God’s ability to intervene in this situation. Sometimes, the rest of the world needs to know that we feel the same things they do and can still relate to everyday life the same as they do. So, is this being “Christ-like“? I would respond yes because now others can see that I experience life and all of its ups and downs, thereby making me just as vulnerable as they are (Heb. 4:14-15). If I am asked how I was able to navigate through this in spite of how I feel, I am then able to redirect them to Jesus as the Answer to it all (v. 16).