Humility and Solidarity
Glenda Simpkins Hoffman 4/21/20
This past week the news was somewhat better about the curve flattening for COVID-19. One news items that astonished but delighted me was the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19—the common enemy that is threatening all humankind. How I hope and pray that will happen and that it might go beyond dealing with this crisis.
I have been enjoying John Krasinski’s Some Good News on YouTube. Every week he honors the healthcare workers as the heroes they are. Last week (Episode 3) he actually arranged for the Red Sox to honor healthcare workers in a creative and fun way. It was so beautiful and heart touching, I cried tears of gratitude.
On Saturday I watched Lady Gaga’s One World: Together at Home to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers concert. I was inspired as entertainers and large corporations came together to recognize and support healthcare workers and scientists to raise money for fighting the virus.
What strikes me about much of what I am reading are the words humility and solidarity. People who are often admired and even considered the heroes of today are expressing humility. “Humility is not thinking less of ourselves but thinking about ourselves less. Humble people let go of image management and self-promotion. They honor others by making the others’ needs as real and important as their own” (Adele Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.)
So many people who are famous and recognized around the world are giving thanks and tribute to the real heroes who are faithfully doing the jobs they’ve always done behind the scenes bringing help, healing, and hope to those who are ill and dying and supporting their families the best way they know they can. Having sat with my dad six years ago for two weeks as he was dying and with my son two years ago when he was paralyzed and hospitalized for ten days, I gained a deeper appreciation not only for the gifts and abilities but the care and attention of so many who work in the healthcare field. I felt the love and power of God at work in so many ways in those days spent in the hospitals when I felt helpless to do anything.
I was touched when one doctor was asked what was the one thing she wanted people to know. She said that she wanted families to know when they can’t be with their loved one, be assured we are there holding their loved one’s hand telling them how much you love them. Wow!
Another word that comes to mind is solidarity. “Solidarity is unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.” This pandemic is horrible because it is so deadly to so many and because it truly is a global crisis. The very nature of it has made us realize our humanness—we are vulnerable, out of control, and dependent on each other. Those who need to go to work to keep us alive continue to do so—healthcare workers, scientists, researchers, grocery store employees, delivery workers, and others.
And the rest of us need to stay at home. I like the images of doctors and nurses I have seen on TV saying, “We came to work for you. Please stay at home for us.” The only way we can get through this crisis is together—each person practicing humility to know their place and doing their part for the collective good and living in solidarity with each other.
The global needs can be overwhelming, but all we can ever do is act locally to do what we can to do our part. It’s a blessing to hear the many ways people are doing their part. On Sunday, Pastor Connie encouraged each of us to pray, call, and write others. Some are making masks, shopping for neighbors, and simply looking out for each other in various ways. Thanks to the many of you who have given generously to support VPC’s ongoing ministry and our mission partners like Belong! You are a blessing!
We don’t know when this crisis will be over, but now is the time to begin to think about how this new awareness of our human connectedness might help us to live our true calling as God’s people in a world of such need. I’ll have more to say about that later this week.