Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on multiple levels. The loss of life overwhelming, the loss of jobs devastating to the economy, the evictions devastating to families.
Every crisis has its heroes, every disaster its displays of selflessness and sacrifice. Firefighters race into burning buildings. Security officers place themselves in the line of fire. Soldiers march into war. Yet it’s the images of healthcare workers shown during the early days of the pandemic that keep flashing in my mind’s eye these days.
Amid the pandemic, doctors, nurses, EMTs, and support staff risked becoming infected, risked infecting their own families, and risked death to care for others. They made extraordinary sacrifices for the rest of us. They did so even as they were put at greater risk than necessary by the avoidable shortages of masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment.
Their stories—the nurses who resorted to wearing garbage bags as protective gear, the doctors who slept in basements for fear of infecting their spouses and children—were at once maddening, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Perhaps you remember the grim report by the Washington Post’s Rachel Siegel, featuring an emergency medicine doctor who wrote out her funeral playlist. The same article discussed a dual-physician family who found backup guardians for their backup guardians, in case of the worst.
Would I be as brave? I would give up my life for my family and friends, but for total strangers? Greater love has no one than this!
Jesus gave up his life for us so that we might have life and have it abundantly. What would it take for me to have the courage to give up my life for total strangers, or even for friends?
God, show us how to love so bravely that we will focus on those around us who are calling for rescue instead of worrying about ourselves. Amen.