As people all around the world see the rise in cases of COVID-19 and live with the risks and restrictions it brings, it is also an opportunity to think about how we react to such crisis. I have been dismayed by some of the videos I have seen of people scrambling for toilet roll or for the last bag of pasta. On social media I have seen people devalue the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions and advocate less care for them. I have seen and heard selfishness, individualism and stubbornness. But listening to the radio this week I was touched by a senior clinician who spoke about how the cure for this pandemic would be altruism and caring for each other. Do we care for each other by taking sensible precautions? Do we care for each other by assisting neighbours and friends and family – and even the stranger among us – to have food and anything else they might need if in quarantine? Is our starting point how to ensure the well being of people, including, and especially, the most vulnerable among us. Are we ready with plans as to how to cope with a reduction in volunteers or staff so that those who need our services will still get them? Will we ensure that those without easy access to health care get access to testing and treatment?
We need to be diaconal in responding to this situation. We need to see each person as love and loved, worthy of the same care and respect as any of us. And yes, we need to ensure that undocumented migrants and homeless people are not hidden in this situation and have access to the care and services they need. We need to be altruistic, diaconal and loving.
I hope you and your loved ones are well – but that we are also united in caring for each other, asking each other what is needed and getting through this crisis by loving and caring for our neighbour.
Have a good weekend,