None of us like to be told what to do.
Our individual freedom is of paramount importance to us.
We rarely think about what is best for the rest; it's just not in our DNA.
But we are being asked to do that now. We are being asked to sacrifice a bit of our freedom for the good of our neighbor, near or far.
I know it is hard.
But - honestly - it is not that hard. It really isn't.
We complain, almost with pride, about how busy we are.
We wish we had more time.
We wish we had more space, more margin, more time to just "be."
We wish we had more family time.
Many of us (not all) have just been handed what we used to wish for.
Let's try to settle into it with gratitude, with the knowledge that the simple act of staying home is an act of defiance against the subtle dangers of individualism.
Staying home is now an act of love.
Here is a prayer a friend of mine - a theologian, a pastor, a professor - that may help us settle into the sacrifice.
A Prayer for the Wisdom to Stay Home (by Scot McKnight)
God of All Wisdom, Father of All Light, Lord who knows all,
You know our past and our future.
You know our inner worlds and our outer worlds,
You know our thoughts and our desires.
You know Truth,
You alone are Wisdom,
We think we do.
We are foolish.
We are being reckless.
Grant to us the Wisdom of Love,
To love our neighbors enough to stay home,
To cherish the elderly enough to stay home,
To honor those who come after us and those ahead of us by staying home.
That we may protect one another,
That we may turn the curve of the virus down,
That we may do our part in the world of ending this deadly sickness.
Through Christ our Lord, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit,
Now and Forever.
Stay home, friends. It is an act of deep love.
If you must go out, go buy groceries for a friend. Get a drive-through coffee and over-tip. Go to the Food Bank and volunteer to pack food for those who desperately need it. Go take masks to the healthcare workers. Go hold up a sign outside a nursing home that encourages those inside. Go for a walk. Smile at everyone you see.
But mostly ... mostly just stay home.