By Father Francis Pizzarelli
The pandemic has changed the world forever. It has profoundly reminded us that all life is sacred, but also very fragile. Many families have drawn closer together. More and more people have strengthened their human connections and value their time together.
Unfortunately, it has also further polarized our nation. The heart and soul of our country is wounded and bleeding profusely. Stress and anxiety are on the rise and we are all ill-equipped to meet the escalating need for competent mental health professionals.
Our schools are struggling with this new landscape that our children must travel. There is a great need for a stronger mental health support system to meet the growing number of students who are frightened and anxious.
The lack of quality childcare makes it even more stressful for single moms and moms whose working income is critical for survival.
The light at the end of the tunnel is blurred with mixed messages, conspiracy theories that are blatant lies and elected leaders who are not interested in the people that elected them but rather special interest groups.
Some of our religious leaders have been painfully silent when they should speak to social justice, human rights and doing what’s right for our communities. Our moral compass seems to be broken. How many more lives need to be senselessly lost before we stand up and work harder at building bridges and not walls?
As a divided nation, we are giving power to divisive mean-spirited persons who do not care about the heart and soul of our country.
We are continuing to bury an epidemic number of young people who are dying from heroin because of our horrific insurance and healthcare system— one that is more focused on the bottom line financially than empowering a person to long term wellness and recovery.
Millions of dollars continue to sit in the Suffolk County Treasurer’s office while the bureaucrats decide who is going to get what. We are in the midst of a national health crisis. We need action now. We need more beds for long-term treatment. We need to support the few hospitals that provide limited treatment to expand their services.
As we bicker, an increasing number of families are burying their children senselessly. What will it take to force us to reclaim our humanity and restore the character and integrity of our great nation?
We the people — what does that mean in a country that is so divided? I have seen firsthand, in the midst of our diversity and difference, people come together to support each other in our times of need. We need to reclaim that spirit, transcend our differences and renew the hopeful spirit of our nation.Hope does not abandon us. We abandon hope.
Father Francis Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW, is the director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson.