Our family cuddled on the couch watching a movie as late afternoon rain pelted down. It seemed fitting that there was a literal storm outside as the world stormed around us — the response to COVID-19 was just getting serious here in the U.S. I only half-heard my kids as they laughed at the screen and asked for a snack. I kept thinking about our neighbor.
We’ve waved hello back and forth while pulling in and out of driveways dozens of times, but all I really know is that this elderly wife and husband live alone and never had children. I’d guess they are in their eighties. They’ve lived on our street longer than I’ve been alive but their accent tells of rich German roots. I wish I could remember her name.
I got up off the couch. “Whatcha doing?” my husband asked. He was home too. His work trip had been canceled like most everything would be in the coming days.
“I keep thinking about those neighbors.” I pointed diagonally out our front window. “I feel like I should go see if they need anything.”
My husband agreed and offered his help too. I pulled on my red rain shoes right over my fluffy socks. I didn’t take off my sweatpants or brush my hair. I just went. I popped up my umbrella, ran across the street, and rang the doorbell. After some time, my neighbor opened the door. “Yes?” she said tentatively. She didn’t have on makeup either.
“Hi, I’m Becky. I live across the street. Over there with the three boys. And I was just wondering if you’re okay? Everything is pretty crazy right now with the coronavirus, and I wanted to see if you needed anything.”
“Oh, we’re fine, Becky. But thank you for coming over and asking,” she said, a shy smile spreading across her face.
I offered to run to the grocery or pharmacy anytime she needs. I told her my husband is really handy and is more than happy to fix anything around their house. I asked her name. “Crystal,” she said. “Like the glass.” I handed Crystal a handwritten card with our cell phone numbers and told her again to please call or text anytime. Then I popped up my umbrella and walked back home.
Later that night, I called my sister while I was making dinner. You should know I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone, and life is always busy for both of us so we rarely talk. But as a kidney transplant survivor she’s immunosuppressed. I just felt like I should call. Miraculously she picked up. “You were on my mind. How are you?” I asked while slicing croissants. My call was timely. It was good to talk.
The next morning, a friend was on my mind so I texted her. I’ve seen the memes flying around Facebook, heard about the racial slurs and suspicious looks darting toward anyone of Asian descent. I wanted to check in on one of my Asian-American friends – my gut said she could use the reminder that she is wanted, loved, seen. I was right.
Friends, there is nothing extraordinary in any of these things I did. But I’m sharing them as a reminder to myself and to you that there is power in walking across the street, making a phone call, and sending a text. There is power in reaching out and letting others know they are seen. This is true every day – and perhaps no more so than today.
Long before COVID-19 was ever a thing, (in)courage and DaySpring decided to make #LoveOverAll our 2020 theme. I wrote about it here, but the gist is this: Over everything else, we must put on the love of Christ which bonds us together; over everything else, we get to love one another because God first loved us (Colossians 3:12-14; 1 John 4:19).
In January, I challenged us to consider what #LoveOverAll really means. Now’s the time to live it. Here are some simple ideas for loving well.
19 Ways to #LoveOverAll in Light of COVID-19:
1. Share a square — or a whole roll — with someone who didn’t make it to Costco quick enough.
2. Check on an elderly neighbor and offer to pick up groceries or prescriptions.
3. Pray for those on the front lines of meeting medical needs: doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, police officers, and firefighters.
4. Pray for leaders making crucial decisions: pastors, business owners, education professionals, and government officials.
5. Donate money or supplies to your local soup kitchen or food bank.
6. Write a card and mail it. (Snail mail always brightens a day.)
7. Drop off games or puzzles you’re not using to another family.
8. Play games and do puzzles with your family.
9. Make a batch of freezer meals and give them away.
10. Pick up the phone and call whoever is on your heart today.
11. Order take out from your local Chinese restaurant or other small business.
12. Smile when others are angry, rushed, or panicked.
13. Let someone cut in front of you in line.
14. Find out if friends or family with a suppressed immune system need anything.
15. Leave a thank you note on the porch for postal and delivery workers.
16. Ask how someone is doing and really listen.
17. Offer childcare for a single mom or working parents.
18. Say thank you to check-out clerks and drive-thru workers.
19. Listen to the Holy Spirit and love others however He leads you to.
I don’t know if Crystal will ever take me up on my offer to run errands or help with chores, but at least on a stormy day when uncertainty swarms around us, Crystal knows that she is not forgotten. She is loved. And so are you.
How can you embrace the opportunity to put on #LoveOverAll in light of COVID-19?
Share your ideas below. We are in this together.
There is power in reaching out and letting others know they are seen. This is true every day – and perhaps no more so than today. #loveoverall -@beckykeife: Click To Tweet