By Christopher Simon
Who Is Essential?
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” ~ Matthew 6:26 NIV
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a host of new expressions, from “social distancing” to “essential workers.” These shine a light on some important aspects of our society and how we think of ourselves.
Perhaps we should consider more deeply who is essential? Of course, we all know that the healthcare workers who are caring for the sick and dying are essential, as are the people who deliver essential services, the police, the firefighters, and the EMTs. We also think of the people who work in the grocery stores as essential, and of course the people who deliver the food, as well as the restaurant workers and the people who grow the food.
But what about the people who help all of these people get to work, the taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers, and the bus drivers? They too are essential. And more broadly, aren’t the next generation of workers essential? Aren’t the children who are now in school (albeit at home) also essential? And even the elderly, and the retired, aren’t they also essential? In reality, everyone is essential if we are to have a society that values life the way we should.