the current good, bad & ugly

There is always good. Even when we can’t see it, even when times are uncertain, there is always good. We are created in the image of One who loves us like crazy no matter what; hence, I will always say, there is always good…

… like the friend of a friend who was released from the hospital yesterday, after weeks on a respirator, wrestling with COVID-19… multiple days were touch and go. (Note: according to the John Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard, as of Monday, 187,180 have actually recovered from the virus!)

… like the “Adopt a Senior” projects around the country, where individuals and families pick a high school senior to affirm and spoil, knowing the traditional pomp and circumstance will not occur, sweetly brightening their days.

… like Andrea Pien, a 33-year-old college counselor at a San Francisco high school… while still working and receiving a salary during the shut down, a while back she received a substantial inheritance from her father’s professional success. She tweeted to her neighbors that if money was tight and they needed some food or supplies right now, let her know. “I will send you 20 dollars, no questions asked.” No questions asked!

Unfortunately, there still exists bad…

… like the COVID cases that continue to exist… as of Monday night, there are now 1,180,288 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 68,922 deaths. Also according to the Dashboard, the mortality rate among confirmed cases is 5.8%. (Note: the true mortality rate is believed to be lower, but “it’s impossible to determine precisely due to incomplete testing regimens.”)

… like the political polarization of the current scenario… politics pales in comparison to what we as a country most need to do: bond together, recognize our humanity — which is what we most have in common — so we can craft a viable path forward. As former Pres. George W. Bush tweeted over the weekend, “Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable, and equally wonderful, in the sight of God. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.” Indeed. Let us remember how small our differences are. When we instead choose to magnify them, we play into the problem.

… like the media bias and hypocrisy… the cliché is true that “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again”… the media has an agenda. Pick your subject. Pick your source. Watch how the angle changes pending who/what is involved. I often wonder whether we really watch the news primarily to confirm what we want to believe.

And then there is the ugly…

Actually, as a person who sincerely wishes to wrestle with reality but simultaneously focus on all that is good and right and true, I’m hesitant to give “the ugly” a shout out; it seems unworthy of acknowledgement.

Yet I will say in recent weeks I’ve wondered what we’re turning a blind eye to. What are we ignoring — perhaps included in the good and bad above — in order to believe what we want to, feel what we want to, or be loyal to what we wish? What are we missing?

What am I not paying any attention to because it doesn’t fit with the narrative I want to believe? 

…however good, bad or ugly?

A wise friend asked me the other day if I’ve changed my mind on anything recently; it’s a fantastic question. Hard, too, I must admit. Sometimes I insulate myself and my opinions by surrounding myself with sources, souls, and stories that only reinforce what I want to feel or already believe. That insulation is so convenient… it means I don’t have to grow or change my mind on anything!

But what if what that really identifies is not an honorable passion or loyalty within me? What if instead it reveals my own lack of humility? … that I’m unwilling to wrestle with reality?

And maybe, just maybe, today that’s the ugly.

Respectfully… always…