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Wise and Discerning Choices During COVID-19

Wise and Discerning Choices During COVID-19

By Tom Allen

My wife Julie is in hospice nursing home care in late stages of Alzheimer’s.  She tested COVID positive.  We were faced with end of life choices.  (Miraculously, she survived, while 18 other residents around her died).

I joined thousands of others in arson clean-up efforts.  I plan to see George Floyd’s makeshift memorial.  Two trips are in the offing for me, one of them by plane.  COVID is forcing all of us to make decisions that involve risk to our health and that of others.  We do what we can to mitigate the risk, but we have less than complete knowledge.  And in any context, agreement about what is best is missing.

The Ignatian Tradition offers guidance.  It invites us to consider matters of conscience (such as our care that we might infect those around us) and keep ourselves free of any fixed preferences.  This means that before we face any decision we do not determine to do everything that will keep us healthy and nothing that might make us sick, or to live to a very old age rather than to die younger.  This way we stay in balance and we can make a decision that is in line with what is Spirit led.  We are actively indifferent. We resist choices that are ego driven by our fear, need for pleasure, comfort, people pleasing, or avoidance of all risk.

Which choice best honors our conscience?  Which choice brings the most interior freedom? Which choice is the most life giving for myself and others?  Which choice is grounded in my True Self, my Larger Self, whom God created me to be, and how do I know?

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