While Standing (Six Feet Apart) On One Foot
April 23, 2020
 
It’s starting to hit home now for a lot of people. As disastrous as the virus is, I have not heard of too many people who have acquired it in my own circle. That is now starting to change.
 
I just this morning heard of a congregant whose beloved cousin died of the virus. Stella just heard of a youth group advisor whose mother just died of the virus. And my rabbinic colleagues are doing funerals for virus victims every other day in some cases. As if it ever was, this is no longer something else that happens to someone else.
 
That is why I find it terribly saddening and angering that people try to stare down health care workers who are the ones going to save their lives. And to call them ‘fake actors’ is fully pitiful. The strength and integrity of our health care workers in the face of such rampant irresponsibility is inspiration. These nurses and doctors are upholding the oath they took to ‘do no harm.’ They understand the screamers’ pain more than the screamers do, I think. They are now all rabbis.
 
Rabbis, ministers, priests and every counselor and psychologist of every kind are often at the end of some kind of abuse. They are often ridiculed, criticized and threatened in one way or another – usually vocally – and they stay put. There is not a psychologist or counselor alive who has not this experience.
 
And still they stand and take whatever abuse is hurled at them because they have the strength that comes from serving something bigger than themselves: the pain of another regardless of how nasty, abusive and simply mean they are. This has become the unintended revelation of this viral crisis. What we are all witnessing is the application of love and strength in the face of pain. And, yes, I believe that all those people protesting in front of nurses and doctors with their guns (why guns?) are in pain. They are hurting. There is no doubt about that. And any counselor will tell you what they learned in counseling 101 – it is natural and expected that they will pour their anger out on someone who will take it.
 
God bless those taking the pain from others.
 
Real heroes work to heal us and even those who abuse and degrade them. Their strength is indomitable. Their understanding of their fellow profound. And their commitment to the ideal of ‘Therefore choose life’ ought to serve as an inspiration for us all.
 
I don’t know about you but every doctor, nurse, EMT, respiratory therapist, hospital worker, volunteer, police officer, and firefighter – all of which, by the way, are members of the Beth Miriam community – has my profound respect in magnitudes of measure more than before this crisis began. All of them had my deepest admiration for their work before we heard of COVID-19. Now they are the very manifestation of strength and honor. May they find continued strength in the face of pain, ignorance, sorrow and hate. May they soon experience what they should be experiencing all the time: love and resect.
 
I pray for them at every moment. I hope you will join me.