“Let not your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1

Well, how many of you have troubled hearts right now? Don’t all of you raise your hands at once because I cannot count that high! Troubled souls seem as much like a daily staple as bread or salt.

Devastatingly bad news swirls around us from every corner. Terrorists take over a country, causing folks to flee their homeland with only a small bag — if they are so lucky. Hospitals are filled with COVID patients gasping for air. Throw in the earthquakes, fires, floods, and foolish folks, and we have a genuine bag full of trouble with a capital T.

We watched in horror those who attempted to give their children to strangers rather than have the child be raised under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. A baby was hoisted up to an American soldier with trust that he would give the child refuge. Luckily the family was reunited, but what a chance the parents took.

We cry for humanitarian aid and help because their misery touches our hearts. And, yes, such despair is horrendous.

After watching the evening news regarding the Afghanistan crisis, the news anchor began to report on the COVID outbreaks in America. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. Death rates are climbing while children are filling pediatric wards.

A protesting woman was interviewed on the street. “Ma’am, are you vaccinated against the virus?” the reporter asked.

“No, and I don’t believe in masks either,” she defiantly answered.

That got me thinking ... If we sent all those who refuse to help the humanitarian crisis in this country to Afghanistan to be forced to wear burkas 24/7, I wonder if they would change their minds?

However, there is a sense of sadness regarding the protesting lady. She may consider she is right in her beliefs, but what is she willing to sacrifice for her rights? Is she ready to expose her child to a disease that could kill her precious one, or hand that child up to safety because she loves her?

If you are not vaccinated, wearing a mask is the least you can do for the humanitarian crises here. How hard is that in the scope of things? Our personal freedoms in this country are meaningless if we care nothing for those who have taken all precautions to heal our land or those overworked health care workers trying to heal our sick.

These die-hard anti-maskers and anti-everything folks call themselves proud Americans. I don’t. I don’t like wearing masks either but, by gosh, I will do my part to save my American neighbors from a disease that has caused so much damage and trouble with a capital T.

Please excuse me if I stepped on anyone’s free toes, but seriously? Sometimes when in deep trouble, we need to eat crow, do things we don’t like and do whatever it takes to better the world for all.

I am amazed at how those who will fight for their individual rights miss the point. How do we enjoy freedom if we are not free of COVID? None of us will be less troubled if we don’t trouble ourselves to care for each other’s right to simply live.

My friends tell me, “Lynn, don’t write about things that may cause you trouble.” They say so because they know I am sensitive and get my feelings hurt over negative criticism. (It is a flaw for sure.) But you know what, perhaps the meek need to speak up to counter those who cause harmful trouble. Will I change anyone’s minds? Probably not, but it’s worth a try.

Trouble comes into our lives all the time. When the Great Depression befell our country soon after the Spanish Flu ravaged our land, there is one thing American citizens did — they helped each other. If you had extra eggs, then you shared them with your neighbor. If a friend fell ill, neighbors were there to aid their healing. During World War II, those same people endured the hell of loss and battle as one proud land in a terrible time of trouble.

This is the spirit we are missing now. Our battles are between neighbors, liberals vs. conservatives, the anti’s vs. the for’s, the truth vs. conspiracy. We are blinded by our shouting defiance while the son of God calmly whispers, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” “Trust me, love one another as I love you.”

With God’s help, we must remember that we can reduce our defiance, save the child, put our self-interest on the shelf, and lift our loved ones and our country to safety. That is where we will find our refuge and ultimate freedom.

Lynn Gendusa of Roswell is the author of “It’s All Write with Me! Essays from my heart.” She can be reached at www.lynngendusa.com.

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