Danger = Threat plus Opportunity
There is a symbol in Chinese calligraphy that simultaneously characterizes both danger and opportunity.
Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Although a situation can seem scary, there is great opportunity for good as well.
It’s difficult to ignore the news about the spreading of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). Its potential threatens the entire global community. Like the Chinese symbol, the virus has given humanity potential for great opportunity. Despite its threat.
In the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament), there is a verse, “Keep my laws and my commandments in order that you shall live.” (Leviticus 18:5) This in essence means that saving the life of another human being overrides any other commandment. First and foremost, one should always focus on another’s humanity.
This problem with the Coronavirus lies in the uncertainty. Uncertainty is scary. We don’t know how this is going to play out. Will the effects be mild or severe? We don’t know.
What we have is an opportunity.
- We can put aside differences to work together to saving lives. Instead of fighting and blaming each other.
- We can come together as a community and share resources to help one another. We’ve done this in previous times of crisis.
- We can become more aware of and compassionate with the plight of others, making a difference in our world.
Ultimately, we can see this chaotic experience as an opportunity to grow spiritually.
The Food Stamp Program introduced during the Great Depression was phased out when it was seemingly no longer necessary. It was reintroduced in the Senate in 1977 when Bob Dole and George McGovern supported a bipartisan effort to bring it back. Both sides of the aisle compromised, and worked together to bring back this lifesaving program. The Food Stamp Act became law, helping many who would otherwise not have access to affordable food.
(On a Personal note, years ago, I was temporarily on welfare, and relied on food stamps. Although at the time it was a chaotic and frightening experience, it gave me an opportunity to survive and ultimately thrive. I remain forever grateful for that safety net the food stamp program provided. Social programs were designed for those who need to temporarily avail themselves of it.)
Today, we have opportunity to help our larger society. By coming together, we can create great unity and healing. We can use the threat of the virus to unite us so that we prevail together. Therefore a negative experience can have a great and powerful positive impact.
Chaos and uncertainty create possibility if we are open. If we let it, we have an opportunity to grow individually and as a community.