Honestly, the Coronavirus doesn’t scare me. My immune system is fine. Even if I was to get it, the odds are overwhelmingly in my favor to make a full recovery within days. There have been plenty of viruses during my short life that I have never been personally affected by. In a few years, I expect that in a few years, this time will be a distant memory.
You see, when I only focus on myself and my own health, nothing about this virus is daunting; it is only when I look outside of myself that I realize the severity of what is going on. I have an 8 month old daughter and if I continue living as though nothing is happening, she could get affected. It always breaks my heart to see my baby suffer in any way, so I can’t continue to go about this nonchalantly.
I also spend one morning a week at breakfast with a dear friend by the name of Doc Ryder. He is 89 years old and although he is still moving around very well, it would be incredibly problematic for him to get the virus. Yesterday morning, he yelled at my friend Lawson and I for hugging goodbye. At first, I thought he was being over dramatic and we both laughed it off, but the more I have thought about, the more I’ve realized how that situation epitomizes the situation I find myself in.
I am a young and healthy man. It doesn’t even cross my mind to take extra precautions to not spread the virus. Life has gone on normally for me and it would have continued if Doc had not pointed this out. For him, it is a much more serious threat. While I live in my blissful world, he realizes how careful he needs to be now that the virus is spreading fast. This thing will not kill me, but in my selfish ignorance I didn’t even consider him. Those of us who are healthy need to realize that many others around us may not have our pristine situation.
It is not always obvious who is in the most danger. If you were to see my sister Faith on the street, you would assume that she is just another healthy 20-something, but that is far from the truth. In fact, she is probably more at risk than anyone else I know because her immune system is already compromised by a disease. Her bones are becoming brittle, she gets a new diagnosis seemingly every few months. She has dealt with cancer, ITP, has had multiple surgeries due to bone problems, has consistent stomach issues, etc. which is all due to her Lupus. Exposure to this virus could be fatal, a fact that she is more than aware of. On top of all this, she works in retail, which brings her in contact with hundreds of people a day; people who are unable to tell the difference between her and a healthy person.
I’ve been thinking of her with every decision I’ve made the past few days. I can’t afford to be fearless because she can’t afford it. This virus makes me realize that life is not about me – it’s about looking out for the least among us. We need to be aware of the consequences of our actions, even the seemingly meaningless ones like hugs. It is our ignorance that could lead to someone else’s pain.
As events continue to be cancelled, take all of this into consideration. Life is not all about me. The world does not operate the way I see it. Some of us have distinct advantages over others that we need to intentionally look for and make sure that we aren’t abusing our situation to the detriment of others. I’ve seen in the news that some churches are taking steps to protect people by cancelling services this weekend. I am so glad to see the people of God acting like it.
So for those of you who are complaining about basketball and hockey shutting down indefinitely, who are rolling your eyes at another news story about it, who are screaming on social media “It’s not that big of a deal!”…. look around you. It might be a bigger deal than you think.