My views on COVID-19 have drawn somewhat of an unpopular response by some lately. While the rest of the world around me has been self-quarantining more and more, I have continued to do my best to keep serving, doing my recovery work, meeting with those who truly still need human contact and help, volunteering where I’m still allowed, and having one-on-one interactions where I can with people in need. While I am also doing my best to do the social distancing, washing hands, etc., a number have wondered if this is still being reckless, selfish, and risking the health and lives of others. I pondered this quite a bit in recent weeks and felt my Spirit answer.
Did Christ or his disciples ever avoid putting themselves in places where the sick and ailing were? Did Mother Teresa? Martin Luther? St. Francis? These are just a few of the many selfless individuals who put the needs of others in front of themselves.
Each of these individuals are heroes to me and walked a spiritual path I’m doing my best to follow these days. Take Martin Luther for example. He lived during a time when the bubonic plague had come to his hometown of Wittenberg, Germany. As that disease continued to kill and spread rapidly, he remained there to tend to the sick and ailing, to be of loving support, while the majority fled in fear, leaving many of their own behind who were sick and dying. Martin Luther stressed his reason for that was the importance of caring for his neighbor. He emphasized the gift that came in serving in this way, and cited Jesus and Paul many-a-times as those who came before him who did the same.
So, now as we live in a world where people are becoming so afraid of how long this virus is going to last, where there are still far too many unknowns, where grossly exaggerated rumors of this virus pervade our common language daily, where so much of it seems out of everyone’s control, and where the news continues to raise the fears more and more everyday, many are turning to addictions to cope, are feeling hopeless, and getting depressed, where talking on the phone or doing video chats either hasn’t helped much or at all.
Like the sick need doctors and nurses to attend to them in person, I’m a firm believer that human beings in general, especially addicts of any kind, need the same. Like Martin Luther and his inspirations of Christ and Paul, each could have contracted the diseases they came in contact with or even spread it themselves. But, they had faith in their spiritual mission. They felt a conviction to help the sick and they trusted God enough to guide them through all they did, including keeping them and others safe. And I feel the same, doing the best I can do to keep safety precautions, but still reaching out and helping nonetheless.
I’ve been around a number of people lately who were grateful I was still willing to put myself out there, to be with them, to talk about recovery, or to simply give them some loving support and company. This past week I was at Rescue Crisis and held a meeting there for the clients, where I saw one individual have a spiritual breakthrough, where tears flowed from their eyes, all because of the love they felt in the recovery meeting that was held.
The fact is, while I respect science and medicine and the precautions for this virus itself, I have a faith that helps me to do this work. But look, I’m not an idiot either. If I was to become sick for any reason, I also trust enough that my Higher Power would want me to take care of myself, to self-quarantine like others, and to remain that way until I’m better. In the meantime though, I just can’t imagine someone like Jesus, or any of his disciples, or Martin Luther, or Mother Theresa, or anyone else who has ever followed a Higher Calling like they did, letting the fear of the Coronavirus prevent them from doing the spiritual work they felt called to do. I mean didn’t Christ talk about choosing faith over fear countless times? Didn’t he and his disciples walk into colonies of lepers and other communities where the sick were constantly being left to die, never once letting fear control them? While I’m not Christ or any great spiritual teacher and may never be any of the sort in this lifetime, I admire all those in our world’s history, who always chose faith over fear in helping others. Faith that led them to tend to many who were sick and ailing, no different than what we all are experiencing currently with COVID-19.
So, while I respect all those who choose differently and wish to remain in the safe confines of their homes right now because of this virus, I feel the God of my understanding constantly nudging me every day to keep putting myself out there where I’m called to help, to comfort those who are afraid, to be a companion, to love, and provide hope in any way I can, especially to those who might be struggling with addiction. Because if everyone chose to self-quarantine, who really would be there to tend to all the neighbors who actually do need some unconditionally loving help right now?
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson