Gosh, what a time to be alive. In this unprecedented season, people across the world are living out history in the making as this virus unfolds. We are all having a shared experience together.
Yet there is no shortage of divisive rhetoric. No shortage of finger pointing and blaming. No shortage of “me against you” or “us against them” mentality. Yes, even in this shared experience all across the globe, we are vastly different. The degree to which we have been impacted by this pandemic, and the ripple effect that comes with it, varies based on a number of factors.
How’s your health? Are you able to work? Do you even still have a job to go to? Do you have childcare? Can you afford to feed these “extra” people that are now home all the time? How is your stress level? Do you feel safe? Do you still have access to the medications you need? Is your normally healthy immune system tanking because of the pressure and stress and uncertainty of all you are juggling? Are you able to continue on teaching your children at home, while working from home, sharing your space, all with little disruption or tension? Do you have to keep working outside the home, but it keeps you worried sick that you’ll bring the virus home to your loved ones? The list of bumps in the road can go on and on. This shared experience is by no means an even playing field.
This pandemic has been a prime breeding ground for fingerpointing of all kinds. From a personal and local level, all the way up to the federal and global level, there is blame being hurled from every corner.
“He did this and she said that.”
“We don’t get enough support from over here.”
“So-and-so overreacted, while someone else didn’t do enough.”
Armed with pitchforks of division, the keyboard warriors are out in full force, fighting with strangers on the internet. There is no shortage of divisive behavior there, either. More “me against you.” Where does that really get us? What if we took an entirely different approach? Instead of the unproductive name calling and the insults and the endless arguing over every detail and the unfair mass-generalizations, what if we were just as quick to search out any common ground that can be found?
And what about people closer to us? Family and friends are also feeling the tensions. So you have a different political view? Maybe a different faith background? Or maybe you’re standing across from family members you love very much, on different sides of a specific issue. There are any number of ways to be different. What do we gain by focusing on the division? What do we gain by severing relationships?
I don’t say this as some Pollyanna wearing rose colored glasses. I’m not in denial about the real issues that have the potential to divide us in many areas of our lives today. But what if instead of firing off that next spicy response to some stranger we disagree with, we took a second to look for the common ground. Maybe not publicly; that could get awkward, real fast. But it never hurts to look at your own heart, your own reactions, the parts of the equation that you control.
And if we can’t find that common ground, whether with a stranger or a family member, rather than taking on the task of publicly disputing each and every opinion, let’s ask ourselves what really needs to be engaged in, and what can be taken care of with the good ol’ “snooze for 30 days” option.