By Juliana Valdez
There are times when, inadvertently, our actions or lack thereof, bring hurt and pain to others, especially when they are dependent on you for one reason or the other. A recent episode of The Jeffersons on TV ONE, channel 315, emphasised this point.
Louise ‘Wheezy’ Jefferson, while doing volunteer work at a suicide help centre, had the distinction of helping many individuals who were suicidal to change their minds.
On her arrival at the centre one day, to counsel Ruthie, a young lady who was depressed and suicidal, a television agent arrived at the same time, expressing his desire to do a documentary on Louise and the many persons who were saved through her help.
Ruthie arrived at the same time and tried to get Louise’s attention. But Louise, distracted by the TV agent and thoughts of becoming a star, kept putting Ruthie off! Disappointed, Ruthie proceeded to the bathroom where she overdosed on some pills and ended up in the hospital in a coma.
When Louise found out she was filled with remorse and acknowledged, “I was so wrapped up in myself, I forgot all about Ruthie.”
George, Louise’s husband, in trying to comfort her as she fretted, impressed upon her that she couldn’t help everyone and said to her, “Who do you think you are, God?”
We find ourselves in situations where our assistance, in different ways, is needed. It could be the need for a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, a comforting word, and though we may not be God, we could be ‘God sent’ to make a difference in the lives of others.
But many times our focus shifts from where it should be because of the many distractions which bombard us and this is sometimes to the detriment of those who are depending on us.
The crisis we are facing in our nation calls for us to be ever vigilant, compassionate, considerate and obedient. The fake news, panic buying, price gouging, hoarding, selfishness and disobedience are the distractions which cause us to be wrapped up in ourselves as Louise was. This is what is preventing us from working together to ensure that we beat this crisis.
Louise ignored Ruthie and a disaster occurred because of it. If we continue to ignore the guidelines given to us by those in authority and fail to reach out to those in need of our help, the result will be disastrous.
George, the owner of a dry-cleaning company, used this line, comparing stained garments to the problems of life, to let Louise know that disappointments will come, “You can’t get out every stain!” While this may be so, we need to be confident and satisfied in our minds that we are trying our best.
There are some stains which, with prayerful persistence can be removed. Our focus must not be marred by distraction.
As the season of Lent continues, we will face many other challenges. As the Holy Week descends upon us, let us keep the faith, using this period of enforced at-home time to delve deeper in the scriptures, allowing our minds and hearts to be more in tune to the sacrifice Jesus made to gain our salvation.
We thank Almighty God for our access to the television, as we are fed spiritually with the many programmes, livestreaming of Masses, etc. Remember, ‘Christ Our Victory In this Desert’ is our mantra. We continue to proceed in faith, putting our hope and trust in God, that our country and all others afflicted by this virus will be delivered.
Heal our land, O God!