“Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.” – Psalm 130:1-2
I am so weary of this horrible – wretched pandemic. I am exhausted by all of it.
This weekend we learned the devastating news that Covid-19 took the life of the dad of one of Jack’s friends. Another parent with children he loved is gone. Another dad with archery tournaments to sit through. With graduations to attend and college visits to plan. With hobbies to pursue and holidays and birthdays to celebrate. With hopes and dreams and plans and so much love to give his family has died far – far too soon.
I did not know him, but I knew one of his children. We had waved and smiled a few times at archery tournaments. We sat in the same bleachers on Saturdays and in the same parking lots waiting to pick up our children. He took my son to the zoo and out for Chik-fil-A. I bought his daughter pizza. His youngest child and my oldest child dated for a bit.
I did not know him – but I know he mattered. He was deeply loved.
He was never a number. He will never be just a statistic. He was a beloved husband and he was a treasured dad. He probably told dad jokes. He has three children. He mattered.
He will be missed. Our world and the lives of his loved ones will be so much less without him. He mattered.
Life is sacred. It is a gift. Life is precious and fragile.
You might think living through a pandemic would make us more likely to remember just how precious all human life is. And yet it seems – we continue to take life for granted. We take the value of human life lightly.
I have struggled throughout this pandemic with the way some folks dismiss those who die as statistics and numbers. This way of thinking is frankly incomprehensible to me. Each of the people who have died of Covid-19 mattered. Not one of them was just “anything.”
Think of your own loved ones. Are they “just” anything? Of course not. Your loved ones are dazzling and delightful. They are amazing and awesome. They are loved and loving and lovely. They are fun and funny. They make this world a much better place simply by being here. It is a comfort and a joy and a blessing just knowing they share this planet and this life with you.
Each of the people who have died of Covid-19 were also so many wonderful – amazing – glorious things. Their loved ones delighted in knowing them and sharing in this life with them. Our world is less without these precious folks.
It is easier to rattle off numbers and statistics. We do it all of the time. We use numbers and statistics as a protective shield. Numbers don’t have families and friends. Numbers don’t have hopes and dreams. Numbers aren’t missed. We don’t form lasting bonds with numbers and statistics. Numbers numb us. Statistics are safer. Because of this – I believe they can be very dangerous. Numbers and statistics can turn off our hearts and our empathy and our compassion and our imaginations. Numbers and statistics can make us less human.
It is so easy to say that by the end of February 500,000 Americans will have died of Covid-19. Or that 773 citizens of Jefferson County, Kentucky have died of Covid-19 or that 3,687 Kentuckians have died of Covid-19. These are numbers.
When we do this – it is easier for us. We don’t have to feel anything. We are protecting ourselves. We don’t have to acknowledge the humanity of numbers and stats. But these are not numbers and they are not statistics.
So when we rattle off these numbers – we need to remember these were people. These were folks just like ourselves. They were and are beloved children of God. They have families and friends who love and miss them. They had hopes and dreams. They mattered. We ALL are less without them.
And also when the doctors and scientists tell us that by social distancing and by wearing our masks and refraining from gathering in large groups – we can save 50,000 lives between now and April – those lives saved aren’t numbers and statistics – those are people with loved ones. Those are hopes and dreams saved. Those are hugs that will be given and bedtime stories that will be read and hands that will be held and Christmases that will be celebrated . . .
When we get frustrated about masks and exhausted by NTI and weary of being asked to make sacrifices for the greater good – we need to remember we are doing this for our fellow human beings. People just like us. People with loved ones. People who laugh and dream and hope and celebrate and want to watch their children grow up and their grandchildren be born.
Yes – this is exhausting and frustrating and annoying and a great big pain. Yes – I absolutely wish it were all over with too. But we are not better Christians by ignoring it or by pretending it isn’t happening or by trying to ignore the toll it is taking on our fellow human beings.
We need to remember that each and every person who dies of Covid-19 mattered.
I encourage you to take some time this week to pray for those who are mourning and to pray for our healthcare workers. And to wear your mask.
You are all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.” – Psalm 22:1-2
(Jesus prayed this Psalm while dying on the cross Matthew 27:46.)