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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

Scraped Knees and Compassion

There will be no family walks or bike rides today. While I was wrapping up some work, my 9 year old burst through the front doors yelling, "Mariah got hurt and she said that she could see bone!"

Well dang, okay, mommy mode engaged! I'll rush ahead so that you don't worry. She scraped the skin off of her left knee and took a bit of skin off of her elbow while she was biking with flip flops on...been there, done that. Kids! :)

My dad would yell when we got hurt, a far cry from the sensitivity that a child needs when they have done something foolish and are now paying the natural consequences. I've caught myself begin to criticize a clearly shame-filled child and had to work on my "why" of such a harsh reaction.

I see a lot of harsh reactions right now. Harsh reactions to how people are handling this imposed isolation, and why they are not being responsible and infallible citizens like the bulk of us. And on the other side, believing the isolationists to be extremists. There is a lot of pride, but I wonder if pride isn't the product of fear and insecurities.

One side claims that strict isolation will kill the virus and provides their interpretation of handpicked evidence. The other side claims that herd immunity is the only way, and also provides their interpretation of handpicked evidence. Both have compelling and heartfelt arguments. Both have egregious flaws in logic. For either side to have a rock solid case of science and logic, they would have to concede that both sides (that includes our own if we have one) have massive holes in their logic and produce a humble curiosity that stands at the ready to concede an error in their own logic in order to come to a complete conclusion; and even that assumes that as a collective, we have all of the necessary universal information needed in order to create a truly flawless response.

We are arrogant creatures, us humans. We hide behind our fears with bold statements and accusations. I think that is why my dad, and I, before correcting the pattern would react negatively when something bad happened; we were afraid and didn't take the moments of self reflection to label it before it grew into perceived anger. Someone we loved was hurt and we reacted in a rather immature and abrupt manner that left no room for compassion to be given or received.

Last night I stayed up far later than my brain anticipated, in a zoom session with two sweet friends in two different states from my own. The internet has allowed us to connect with friends and loved ones who are near and yet isolated and far. And yet, there is this dark message of fear shooting across news feeds; fear that hasn't been humbly labeled and reeks of anger, which breeds resentment.

Friends, this ugly monster has already been woken, while we were sleeping. We are seeing each other as the enemy, rather than the true pandemic of fear. Fear left unlabeled and unchallenged will be the ruin of relationships, communities, and the economy as we knew it, if we are unwilling to pull back the layers of our own narrow understanding, expose it, remove any debris, and with tenderness place the balm of forgiveness and mercy on the open wound and tenderly pull the gauze over the exposed flesh so that it might weave together the fibers of healing.

It is worth it to break the chains. My dad, in his fear, created a paralyzing fear in me as a child that haunts me as an adult. Without the painful and uncomfortable work I have tediously performed on myself over decades, I daresay that I would be passing on that same baton to my children. Instead, God has plucked the arrogance from me time and again, by showing me how foolish and short sighted I can be. Is it possible that I am not alone in this? Can we grow beyond our smallness and label the true culprit so that we can all experience healing and growth? I believe so. The healing is so worth it!

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