“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6-7
She had been dead for 10 days. The discovery of our neighbor Joan’s body was disturbing to say the least. The hazmat suits and quarantine of the building next door was a surreal event. As neighbors gathered, the crowds were quickly dispersed by the authorities. Bill-the-dog-walker shared the vivid picture of the fear and anxiety that was now the buzz of East 32nd Street. He overheard murmuring such as “Was it the Coronavirus?...Who visited her last?...Didn’t she have a heart or lung issue?...Do her children know?...Does she have children? “ Someone exclaimed “We should have known she was ill-- perhaps we could have helped. No one should die alone.”
The COVID19 threat is bringing difficult times. For some it seems to stir more anxious moments and feelings of panic or reasons to hoard supplies. The lines at NYC grocery stores snake around the block; hundreds of people are grasping and grabbing whatever they can. It felt to me as if the elderly were pushed aside when I watched younger people devise “team shopping.” (One holds the place in line while another gathers items.) A two-hour wait to check out is not unusual, and I’ve seen the infirmed, elderly, or disabled trudge away without groceries.
Times like these can bring out the worst and the best in people. In loving contrast, there are now young people who are organizing to shop and make deliveries for folks who need it most. With all this confusion and fear come new and hopeful opportunities to care for people and show up in the ways that we are able. Prayerfully, we can live out our Gospel admonition “to love one another.”
Do what you can; and pray for those who are in your life and for those unable to care for themselves. Be responsible with good health practices, spend time reading and praying, and enjoy in deep new ways the people with whom you are sheltering.
These can be times of opportunity for those who have eyes to see. Commit to more time reading the Gospels and the Psalms. This morning I was part of a team who led an online devotional—90 men checked in to view and interact, since our Thursday morning men’s fellowship gathering had to be canceled. We will continue for the foreseeable future. (If any men want to join in, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stay in touch with each other...video calls can be encouraging. Check on anyone you know who lives alone—you can bring hope to someone feeling isolated. If you know young parents who are stressed, find ways to drop off a meal or groceries at their door, or bring diapers or formula if they cannot easily find them.
Love to all, and thank you so deeply for being part of our lives, work, and friendship.