When I was younger, nothing was impossible. No jump was too high on my bike, no speed in my car was too fast, no sport was too hard. Invincibility was the name of the game for a young Morgan McKinniss; I could do anything I set my mind to. I do not say this as a braggart, because often the results did not correlate to the confidence. Looking back, I was hopelessly optimistic and clueless to many things: things that even still come to mind with the tinge of guilt.
I say this because in one sense, it is relevant today. Life has gotten much harder in adulthood because responsibility and effort must increase to obtain the life I desire. Blind, hopeless optimism is no longer enough to get me through life. In this long and slow process, ignorance has begun to fade away and knowledge has taken its place. When I was young, I often thought I knew everything. Now I am convinced that in order to truly know everything, you must first realize that you know nothing. I have come to the conclusion in my late twenties that I know very little, and that has made life harder.
Why bring all of this up during a global pandemic, you may ask? Life is hard right now. We have to make sacrifices, get only enough toilet paper for our household and not exploit others, resist the temptation to overstock when the grocery store is already running low and others won’t get what they need because you have too much, stay home when you really want to go spend time with friends and family. We must do what we do not want to do in order to do what we want to do later. This requires a level of knowledge that many are seemingly not possessing of today. Too many are operating as if nothing has changed and continue to go about business despite the serious risks of death to others, or possibly themselves. They have chosen ignorance because there is bliss there.
Some have even gone so far as to claim the pandemic is a hoax or a conspiracy. While others have plainly chosen to take advantage of the situation, the facts have shown to be contrary to a conspiracy theory. It is truly unfortunate that people are choosing ignorance over knowledge. In my own life I had to eventually start making the tough choices and do things I did not want to do because that was the right thing to do. We as a society need to remember that today. Yes, there is bliss in the ignorance, but there is also no life in ignorance. True life and meaning finds itself in the joy of doing right even when it costs us.
This reminds me of a German from the Second World War: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a pastor and had worked to defeat the tyranny of evil men in his day knowing full well that it could cost him his life, and it did. While we are certainly not on the scale of a global war, we are in the midst of a trial that requires of us to do what is right even though it will cost us. So I implore you, do what is right, do what is good, and do not hide in the ignorance, that is no life to be treasured.
Morgan McKinniss is a former reporter for Ohio Valley Publishing and currently pastor at Good News Baptist Church in Gallipolis, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.