It feels like every 24 hours brings new shocking statistics. People are hoarding and gathering for their own protection and survival. We are facing a huge economic crisis and we don’t quite know how we should be responding. Our own world safety nets fall apart as we realise we are no longer in control. We are overwhelmed and it’s hard to cope.
Today I have been overwhelmed by sadness — sadness for the lives that will inevitably be cut short, sadness for financial stress and loss of livelihoods. People are facing social isolation and conflicting priorities. None us can predict how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, and how long it will take for us to recover.
The social media and news feed are running 24 hours a day, there’s not much else we are talking about, it’s hard for our hearts to consume on a daily basis. It’s overwhelming even for the most optimistic in society. The temptation is to join in with the chaos, stockpile our resources and make sure we have enough to survive. Each of us has an inbuilt navigation towards self-preservation.
But maybe there is another way. Two-thousand years ago there was a man called Jesus who told people to love their neighbour just as they love themselves. In a society that largely thinks the teaching of Jesus is outdated and irrelevant, I think most of us would see wisdom in why loving our neighbour through this season is a good idea. Living generosity through this crisis gives us an opportunity to reduce the mental and economic devastation.
Imagine if we all responded to the call to be more generous than we have ever been before. Imagine that instead of self-preservation we positioned ourselves towards service to those around us.
I have worked in the not-for-profit sector for 12 years and am constantly impressed by how far human beings will go to look after others. I’d like to suggest we can all take this opportunity for caring for others by providing vital supplies to our neighbours, giving generously to charities, and continuing to support local businesses.
If we all could ask ourselves “what more could I do?” I believe this will be the defining moment for Australia through this crisis. A heart of generosity and care for our neighbours gives us something positive to be part of. There is no doubt the effects of COVID-19 are going to be heartbreaking, but I do believe we have an opportunity to respond with kindness and love for one another. If we are able to rise to this significant challenge then we might just get out the other side of this crisis and look back and say “wow, look what we managed to survive together”.