Pandemic: Adversity Reveals One’s Character

Suzette Standring
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Adversity reveals one’s character during these abnormal times. Togetherness, 24/7, as well as solitary confinement, gives rise to creativity and new ways to show love. Then there are the hoarders, the complainers, the blamers.  Our country is on a collective timeout and what a collection we are.

Each of us is a composite of good and bad, and despite grumbling and inconvenience, we rise to a national challenge. 

I began as a complainer who followed the rules. My lockdown whining stopped when I faced facts.  Asymptomatic folks can pass on the virus. My daughter said, “Mom, everyone has to temporarily give up their freedom of movement for the greater good.”

So I spent my hours reviving friendships, baking my way through bags of flour, and trying to be a go-to person for encouragement.

Our magnificent country is extolled for individualism and personal rights, but currently, the greater good is getting lost in the shuffle of protest signs against social distancing and other restrictions; protests coming too early as we try to overcome the pandemic. That’s like someone saying, “I live in a California wildfire area, but I have the right to burn my garbage outside.”

Likewise, I’m appalled at church leaders who risk the lives of congregants with religious hostage-taking, as in, “A true believer would come to public worship.” That’s the same as “Your faith will prevent this deadly rattlesnake from biting you.”

Try James 1:26-27 on for size: “Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” (The Message Bible)

The gist is caring for others with all your heart, which is a far cry from “I want what I want.”

I, like millions of others, would love businesses and public spaces to reopen. I yearn to hug really, really tight my daughter and grandkids, all of whom I have not touched since late February. I missed my final goodbye to a best friend on her deathbed. David is eager for me to stop squawking about not eating sushi. 

Instead of acting like we live in a Russian gulag, is it too much to support each other with positive role modeling?  Let’s prevent more patients from going to overworked and heroic healthcare workers.

The Constitution has been bandied about as a basis for resistance to sound medical mandates.  But could the resistance be based on a breaking point with boredom, or a sense of entitlement, despite the disastrous risks to others at this time?

We only have each other, and every socially distanced encounter conveys, “I care about you.”  Your own reaction and behavior are windows into who you are, and aren’t we all learning a lot.

This column ran nationally through GateHouse Media, 4/23/2020 and in The Patriot Ledger.