A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it all the time is love.” (Tennessee Williams)
Williams’ comparison of life to a burning building may be a bit dramatic; but, it serves the purpose of asking the question, “what is important to you…what would you save?”
When people who have faced a disaster like a fire or a flood are interviewed on TV they are often asked what they took with them from their homes. Aside from pets, the answers most often given concern family pictures or other memorabilia that related to family, such as a family Bible. Those are objects that relate to the history of the family. As the interview goes deeper and looks to the future the love that was salvaged from the disaster is most often mentioned – loved ones who were spared and the love of the town or area in which they reside. It is hard for some to understand why someone who has been flooded out multiple time continues to want to rebuild and go on living in that same location. Simply put, they love it there.
The perpetually burning building that we find ourselves in today is fueled by the Corona Virus Pandemic. Everything has changed, yet all is still physically the same. The flames of this disaster have signed our lifestyles and destroyed most of the patterns and traditions that we enjoyed. Having stripped away almost everything else that we used to do, the flames of this virus now lick away at our relationships, hoping to also interfere with them. It is most important that we not let that happen; that we remain strong in our love and support for one another, even in cases where we cannot be together.
There is probably not a more poignant scenario than a spouse having to say goodbye outside a hospital emergency entrance and watching their loved one be wheeled into the building, not knowing if they will ever see them alive again. At that moment, all they have left from the burning building is their love.
For most of us, life does not come to that; however, it is important to think about what is important to you and what you would take with you. If you come to any other conclusion than your love for those who are important in your life – parents, siblings, spouses and your children ,friends – I would encourage you to rethink your priorities in life. All of the wealth, possessions or power in the world is not worth losing the love of someone important in your life. Hold on tightly to that most precious possession during this current conflagration.
There is no greater example of love when faced with a life or death choice than God’s decision to let his only son die on a cross, so that we might be saved. If God loved us so much that he would do that, how can we not heed his commandment to love one another and care for one another? How can we not share that love? We have so many simple ways to show and share that love, like wearing a mask to protect others, practicing good hygiene and social distancing so that we do not spread the virus. The building is on fire. Let’s save and share God’s love.
Let us also not forget that love when those who refuse to take the recommended measures to protect others confront us. They, perhaps more than anyone in a mask, need to see God’s love in action. Turn the other cheek and offer them a mask. If they refuse that, tell them that you will pray for them. If they scoff at that, tell them that you see that you will have to pray harder and wish them well.
The building is burning. What will you save?