People have been asking lots of questions. People have come up with interesting ways to say, “I don’t know.” Seems like the two most often asked questions are: “What is going to happen next? When will all this be over?” We keep asking these questions and get angry when we are not told what we want to hear. The truth is, no one really knows what is next and when it will be over.
Did you get that? Experts don’t really know. People with no expertise in infectious disease spouting opinions on social media don’t know. Politicians don’t know. You don’t know. I certainly don’t know. Truth is, no one knows, because no one has ever been here before.
BUT—here’s one thing I do know. When people are in crisis, they default to their basic personality. I can’t find any scientific proof of this, but I do have a lifetime of experience in people watching.
Take the person with a short attention span. Could be a person of any age or circumstance. This person loses interest quickly, making it hard to read a book, sit through TV commercials, or concentrate on anything that lasts longer than 15 minutes. This person demands to be constantly entertained and stimulated, yet is constantly bored. This person is going berserk right now—impatient, grouchy, rude, and posting insensitive rants on social media.
Or take the person who is naturally afraid. Spiders, snakes, thunder storms, and things that move in the dark will send this person cowering under the table in fear. This person lives in constant fear that a killing earthquake will happen along the New Madrid fault line in southern Illinois and destroy three adjoining states in the process. (If you don’t know about this fault line, thankfully you’re probably not a real fraidy-cat.) This person, right now, feels that this is the end of the world. That this is one of the tribulations talked about in Revelation and that we are all doomed to die. Probably this afternoon.
And take the people who think only of themselves. They are the hoarders who buy and take whatever they want with no thought to the needs of others. They are the ones who think social distancing applies to everyone but them. They proclaim that our precautions are ridiculous and cry out for life to return to normal. You know, normal life: when things revolved around them and their wants and desires.
And finally, there are those who are basically kind, generous, and compassionate. The ones who are praying for doctors and nurses and the people doing curb side delivery of groceries. They are the ones who are not afraid, not hoarding, and are speaking words of encouragement and hope. They are the ones whose faith in God is greater than their fear of the unknown. They may be unhappy and upset, but they realize God is still in control. They realize there may be something about this that we are supposed to be learning, or doing, or feeling. They are depending of God, even for every roll of toilet paper.
Which one of these people do we want to be? The one not paying attention? The one who is terrified? The self-centered one? The one who seeks God in all of this? Which ones are we?
Maybe those are the questions we should be asking.
Verna Davis may be reached at Vrdspeaks@gmail.com.