“So God created man in his own image . . .” – Genesis 1:27
“Disasters remind us that we depend on each other,” read the sub-headline of a recent newspaper article that caught my attention. “Disasters rip away the tidy fallacy of self-reliance and lay bare our utter dependence on each other,” the article went on to explain, “They shock us into seeing our shared fragility, which is also our shared humanity. That’s why, in times of crisis, we are usually eager to help strangers . . .”
I found this commentary especially refreshing on the heels of reading scores of other articles that cause me to shake my head and literally say out loud, “it’s grim out there.” Who would have imagined an uncontrolled contagious disease could attack our highly advanced world with such devastation. Not only is it potentially deadly to those who contract it, but it has essentially shut down the economy of the entire planet. Yes, things definitely are grim out there.
That article aroused an awareness in me of something I had failed to notice, and it’s going on right under my nose. Notwithstanding the much-deserved recognition of our healthcare workers and professionals and the many essential service employees laying their lives on the line, heroes in this coronavirus war, there exists an amazing underground movement of human goodness. That’s what I had failed to notice. Goodness abounds, but mostly beneath the radar. On my rare trips to the store to restock a few essentials, contrary to the images the media paints about hoarding, I’ve found my fellow shoppers to be helpful, generous, cheerful and polite. At takeout restaurants it is not unusual for customers to purchase meals for strangers, or to tip higher than normal. In one such story, a couple upon receiving delivery of their takeout lunch order, a tab of approximately $25, handed over to the delivery person a check for $1,500.
While it may be grim out there, goodness abounds. And why should that surprise us? We are, after all, created in the image of the Creator who is Good. So, if we are the image of the One who is Good, are we not created to imitate that goodness? Sometimes it takes a disaster to remind us of that, to “rip away the tidy fallacy of self-reliance and lay bare our utter dependence on each other . . . to shock us into seeing our shared fragility, which is also our shared humanity.”