“The lovers of God know the world is a harsh place, and the times we live in are difficult and dangerous. But they have enough security, endurance, and love to remember that all these upsets are on the surface. Beneath the anger and the agitation, through every human being a river of love still runs.”
— Eknath Easwaran
As people die in the COVID-19 pandemic and millions continue to get sick, some with lasting effects, it is tempting to throw up our hands in fear, despair, and hopelessness. And, as if that were not enough, the pain caused by racism and the abridgement of rights around the world plunges us even deeper into sorrow. In such times, we desperately need what spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran calls “lovers of God.” No matter what their religious perspective, they keep the river of love flowing.
Convergence: Courage in a Crisis is an uplifting documentary with Orlando von Einsiedel leading a team of ten other directors. Filmed during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, it offers an antidote to the COVID nightmare by presenting stories about ordinary people in the United States, Great Britain, Brazil, China, India, Iran, and Peru who have found bold and healing ways to help and to serve others.
Among those whose compassion stands out are Hassan Akkad, a refugee who was tortured during the war in Syria and has good reason to be afraid of hospitals. Yet he volunteers to work with other migrants as a cleaner on the wards, making sure that equipment, beds, furniture, and floors are sanitized for doctors and patients. When he learns that a government benefit program for healthcare workers will not be offered to migrants, he films a video that goes viral emphasizing their importance in fighting the virus. He succeeds in changing national policy.
Also profiled are a Wuhan man who volunteers to drive medical workers to and from their shifts when little other transportation options are available. In San Paulo, Brazil, a woman who has spent time in prison now directs emergency vehicles through the slums of the city to pick up the sick and the dying. In Miami, Dr. Armen Henderson, a Black doctor takes his caregiving to homeless men and women, while he himself has to cope with being racially profiled by the police.
In our troubled world, we need people who cry out with hope by putting others before themselves. All of the world’s spiritual traditions contain stories of those who use their time, talent, and energy for the benefit of others. As he did with his Oscar-winning documentary The White Helmets, von Einsiedel brings tears to our eyes with his message of courage and love.