Faces on Faith: Love, toilet paper in a time of pandemic
I’m currently reading a book called “The Unhurried Leader.” (Don’t laugh. Especially those of you who know my tendency to run from one thing to another – always in a rush. But give me a break here, I’m trying to use this time of self isolation and a slowed down pattern to learn a new trick or two.)
In the book, author Alan Fadling writes about the importance of leading from abundance. Not an abundance of skill or talent, but rather an abundance of love. Love for God, love of God, love from God. “When I seek God’s kingdom first,” he writes, “I find my vision is rooted in the abundance of God’s presence; no longer am I adrift in experiences of apparent scarcity (that) can make me resentful, fearful, anxious, and controlling. (Rather living) from a place of real abundance enables me to do so from a place of joy, peace and security.” (18) When we are place love – the love that ultimately comes from God – at the center of our existence, as St. Paul reminds us, “Love never ends.” (13:8a) Which is just another way of saying there is an abundance of love – an ample supply – enough to go around – more than enough.
Too often we live out of a fear of scarcity, rather than out of the security love has to offer. Why do you think you can never find toilet paper at the supermarket? We are told by the experts that folks have stockpiled it, hoarded it, stacked it up, roll on roll, so that some have more than enough, way more than enough, while others resort to old Sears catalogues! But if we act out of love – and this is as basic an application as I can find – then we take what we need for ourselves, and no more, leaving the rest for others who also have need. That’s what it means to love. It means caring about the other guy, and not just yourself. It means not letting fear rule your life, but rather letting love be in charge.
Eryn Morris is a nurse and the care coordinator at East Alabama Medical Center. Late in March she tested positive for COVID-19. She was quarantined at home for 17 days, experiencing some of the symptoms, but eventually recovering.
Eryn had heard that blood plasma, taken from those who recovered from COVID-19, could lessen the intensity of the disease in those who suffered the most in hospital beds and intensive care units. That bit of information served as a ray of hope for Eryn. “I had a lot of time to think about (those) patients when I was sick (and realized) somebody else could benefit from the antibodies in my plasma (www.wsfa.com). On April 23, Eryn became the first plasma donor in her part of the state.
When we place love at the center of our lives, we will discover we have more than enough love to go around. And like Eryn we will be empowered to share what we have with others – even life’s blood itself!
The Rev. Dr. John H. Danner is the senior pastor at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.