“We’re, relatively speaking, very unaccustomed to sacrifice anymore in this country.”
“If you told my grandparents or I’m guessing yours or many other people listening that they had to sacrifice for six weeks, that would save hundreds of thousands of lives and get the economy back, you know, these are people who lived through a 10-year depression. They lived through who knows what kind of turmoil in their own country if they came to the U.S. They lived through a 6-year world war.” Andy Slavitt
I’m a fan of immediate gratification. I’ll admit it. If I’m really thirsty, it’s easier for me to buy a bottle of water than wait for 30 minutes until I get home. And yet I’m working on sacrificing the present for the future rather than sacrificing the future for the present.
This is a post, though, about making sacrifices for the good of the whole rather than for our own good.
According to Dr. Andy Slavitt who directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, COVID-19 could be gone – GONE – here in the United States if only everyone – EVERYONE – would wear a mask for the next 4-6 weeks. It seems to be a small sacrifice if it means eliminating this virus and saving lives.
But as Dr. Slavitt said in an interview last week, “We’re, relatively speaking, very unaccustomed to sacrifice anymore in this country.”
The individuality and selfishness and distrust of science and politicalization of everything is ruining our culture. We see it everywhere:
- The person who refuses to wear a face mask while shopping.
- The person whose life purpose is to perpetuate their own personal way of life.
- The person who cares first and foremost about their job, their family, their health without any regard for the job, family or health of others human beings.
- The person who plays K Pop full blast at a public pool without ear buds as if everyone loves BTS as much as he does. (This might have happened at our pool.)
It’s almost as if some people think that the world is just about them.
“Duty” is a Greatest Generation word but I know people in each generation – including the Zs – who recognize that we human beings have a duty to consider other human beings when we make choices – whether those choices involve daily decisions or sweeping political decisions.
Unfortunately our sense of duty has been tainted by politics (COVID-19 is a hoax) and misinformation (BLM is a Marxist organization) and white supremacy (immigrants are taking all our jobs.)
As a person of faith I believe that in life and in death we belong to God. A Muslim friend recently said those exact words to me after his mother died of COVID-19. People of many faiths believe we are on this earth to be God’s people and to love the people God created.
Sacrifice is not a bad word. In fact, it’s a word we need to teach our children and our neighbors and our enemies in the way we live our own lives.
It’s 2021 Pledge Season for congregations who raise funds that way and for other non-profit organizations. I remember talking with a young woman with an amazing job and an amazing life who was so beautiful – truly – that at least two men joined our church just to get to see her once a week. She asked me about “this pledging thing.” And I told her what percentage many people in the congregation were pledging.
“That’s crazy,” she said. “That’s so irresponsible. People need to care for themselves first and foremost.” I’ve never forgotten that conversation over coffee. She was a lifelong church person who missed the part in the Bible that speaks of service – even service to the point of death.
We are called to care for each other. Please wear a mask. And consider voting for people whose policies will protect the vulnerable and the weak. Thank you.
Giving is “irresponsible.” Wow. Just wow.