Once again, our country paused to remember almost 3,000 people we lost on 9/11. Every year we remember where we were and the shock and sadness we felt after the tragic events that took place on that terrible day. I was in Dallas finishing up an ORM workshop with chapter leaders. I had to wait three days before I could catch a plane back to California.
In the wake of 9/11, our country came together, united in the goal of never allowing this to happen to us again. Many young men and women joined the military to fight against terrorism. Together we shared the pain, shocked by the devastation and loss of so many lives.
Today we are experiencing another kind of attack. For over seven months now, we have been sheltering in place. I have friends who have not been out of their homes since March because they are concerned about their safety, and want to protect their families.
After losing over 190,000 thousand Americans in this pandemic, our country is not even close to being unified in response to the virus. On 9/11, the death toll was almost 3,000 people. The number of lives lost from the virus is much higher, yet the response is quite different.
Our country is so polarized the we just can’t seem to agree on the following statements:
• All those people did not die from the virus.
• The virus is like the flu.
• You don’t need to wear a mask—they don’t work.
• We don’t need to avoid large crowds.
• There’s no reason our colleges and schools can’t open.
• There is no racial injustice in this country against people of color.
• Protesting in the streets: some say they are peaceful and others say they are not.
We will never get everyone to agree on everything. However, we have seen so many people step up to help the most vulnerable members of our population during this crisis. Teenagers and others have started businesses to help seniors by shopping for their groceries or picking up their medications so they can stay home. Young people have set up temporary stands, selling items to raise money to provide meals for the front-line workers, and food banks have been established to help provide food for people who’ve lost their jobs. Some people have become active in fundraising to help pay other peoples’ rent and mortgage.
As wildfires ravage the west and storms beat down on the south, once again people are stepping up to help one another get through these challenging times. I heard today that a couple has donated one million dollars to provide meals for the firefighters.
Our country is going through tough times right now and it looks like things will get worse before they get better. There is hope because people see the need to come together to help others. Jesus tell us to love the people around us:
“We love because He first loved us.” I John 3:11
“Let all that you do be done in love.” I Corinthians 16:14
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word—you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
As reconcilers, let’s continue to join in these causes that will make a lasting difference in people lives.
God bless you and your families, and please stay safe.