As this virus has spread, at this point doubling the number infected every 6 days, fears run high. With each infected infecting two more, people have resorted to postures of self protection, creating a culture of anxiety and fear. This has amplified the perception of a scarcity of everything - even toilet paper. Really, couldn’t we use something else if we had to?
The scarcity we fear may well become real should we continue to live and move from fear. When we sow into a world of scarcity, we can’t help but reap it, but there is another possibility and a louder than ever invitation to slowness and solitude that gives us the opportunity to consider deeply the kinds of people we want to be and the world we want to live into.
While self quarantine and social distancing are necessary for the sake of slowing the spread of this vicious virus, we owe it to ourselves and one another to maximize the quality of interactions we do have, whether embodied or virtual. This means that we not concede to our most individualist and scared selves, but sow seeds of social trust with community care.
In light of this as well as my own experience of significant sickness in 2019, I feel convicted to start a counter-pandemic. Last year, I came down with a severe case of Epstein Barr Virus. Given that I also have Sjogrens Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that makes it difficult to kick a cold once it kicks me, the results of this illness were serious. For four months I was the recipient of tremendous generosity from so many people-- people willing to walk my poor puppy, and eventually take him in when it was clear it would be months before I would be able to care for him, meal delivery, round the clock care when necessary, rides to doctors appointments, neighbors with flowers, friends of friends sending orders of cozy socks, “dance” parties where I could practice moving my digits again, an EBV buddy hundreds of miles away I could talk to and empathize with, and yes, cash. It's like I was in training for this!
The goodness and beauty of people glowed. This is the counter pandemic I hope to ignite, a contagion of generosity, courage, and hope. I have chosen to do this by starting with extravagant tips. Why not tip the cost of the bill to an hourly worker that is going to be out of work? Why not pay your gym membership for the month rather than put it on hold since you can't go. Why not shop at the local grocer that is a bit pricier, but could go out of business if it has to shut its doors for a few weeks?
I realize that my acts come from a specific place of privilege and not everyone can do this. But you have privileges of your own. Are you young and able bodied, but broke? Someone needs you to shop for them, like really, their life depends on it. Maybe you have a skill that can be shared remotely? Are you funny? I challenge you to create 10 belly laughs this week! Some of you have big bucks and need to do way better than my big tipping!
When I started Nuos Formation in 2018, I was inspired by a concept of Priest/Paleontologist Pierre Teihliard de Chardin -- the noosphere (new-oh-sphere). His hope was humanity to evolve into more and more Christ-mindedness - lives marked by compassion, courage, trust, surrender, generosity, and love. In many ways this has happened. Yet in times like these, when the cost is high, the choice becomes clear. We have choices to make as the human race, when there is legitimate global threat, who we are going to evolve, or sadly, devolve into.
Join the counter pandemic and this week infect three people with an extravagant offer of generosity. It could be anything-- follow your heart when it tugs to give for the sake of giving, and reviralize generosity in order to revitalize our world #reviralizegenerosity. Our counter-pandemic is on a race with COVID-19. Let’s spread generosity, hope, and trust, around the world, in all urgency, for love’s sake.