April 21, 2020

Being a Christian in the time of labeling


I recently responded in this way to a post on a friends page that implied that all of these people protesting the lock down were sociopaths: “Granted it could be just sociopaths but I think it goes deeper than that. Are we raising generations of people who do not believe in caring for each other? Are we emphasizing to our children individual liberty without tempering that with social responsibility? There just can’t be that many sociopaths. They must be “carefully taught.”” (Okay so now I’ve taken to quoting myself.)

I have thought about this a lot lately and want to expand on what I said.

As a Christian it behooveth me to look at all people as God’s children.  Now granted, many of God’s children suffer from mental illness but are we becoming to quick to label people as having mental problems?  Is that becoming the easy way out for us? 

It is my belief that we, as a nation, have, for far too long been deficient in two areas of our process of educating our youth. 

First we tell them that this is a country of individual liberty without telling them that that liberty requires certain things of them.  We frequently ignore what it takes to implement the phrase in the Constitution when it states that it was ordained to “promote the general Welfare”. Promoting the general welfare often requires at times that we surrender part of our liberties so that others may have equal liberties to those that we enjoy.  In the past this happened, for instance, when men were drafted to fight in WWII. In this time of pandemic it is happening when first responders daily put their lives on the line for their fellow human beings.

Secondly we fail to educate them in the love of their fellow human beings.  We might call some of these lock down protesters “sociopaths” but can we honestly say that we, in this country, have done all that we could to help them to understand, no matter what their religion or even if they have none at all, that we are in this for the love of each other?  We are one body as a country.  Countries that live under democratic socialism of some kind recognize that their citizens are not rugged individuals living only for themselves but that everything they do is for the good of the body of people that make up their country. Perhaps we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our country’s ethos before we take the easy way out and label people as being mentally ill.  As a Christian I am required to do this.

April 13, 2020

What they did for love...

Writing about these incidents to a friend today I thought I might share them here too. They are examples from the past of the self sacrificing mindset of those who care for us now, during this pandemic.
In 1910 there was a minor diphtheria epidemic in Jersey City. Despite the fact that she had a newborn boy (my father), two girls 2 and 6 and a 7 year old boy at home, my grandmother, a community nurse, went out to care for others who were coming down with the disease. One night she got home to find a quarantine sign on her door. Her two year old and six year old girls were down with the disease. The other children were closeted in her bedroom. Despite her care both of the girls died. I believe that, even though she had two children after that (one named for the six year old who had died) it haunted her the rest of her life, yet she continued on.
When I was planning on going to nursing school my grandmother sent me to visit a younger nurse friend of hers. Her friend had been in her nursing school's class of 1919. She had two pictures on her mantel. One was of 20 girls in their striped dresses with leg of mutton sleeves and aprons on the day they entered nursing school. The second was her graduation picture two years later in her white graduate nurse's uniform holding a single rose. When I asked her if she had a picture of her graduating class she said "that's it". She was the only one left, the rest having died nursing in the 1918 flu pandemic.
This is by way of saying, I think, that these things happen. We can't control them however much in this day and age we think science is able to, and we simply must live through them as best we can and pray that things might get better someday the way it did for my grandmother and her friend.