Love Amidst Crisis

Currently, in America we are under the duress of the Novel COVID-19. My friends have deemed this time, “under the Rona”. Our country has been warned to stay home and to limit our exposure to others, to significantly shrink our social circles to those whom we cohabitate with and to do so for the foreseeable future. My family has done this for the past three weeks and as a house full of extroverts, this has been very challenging. Yet, even my deeply introverted friends, who have also been staying home for the past three weeks, have said this is beginning to challenge their sanity.

 

Unfortunately, this situation is likely to remain this way for a long period of time. My heart has broken with disappointment as all the usual things in this life that I love are one by one going away. Summer is a season our family lives to enjoy. It’s our time to flex our hospitality muscles and be with ALL the people. We intentionally reconnect with everyone we haven’t been able to see due to full life and school and sports schedules. We stay out late and enjoy hosting events and going out in nature with friends and family.

 

The dawning that all these things are likely not to happen is so sad. And yet, my mind has begun to ask the question, “how can I show love to the people who matter to me if I can’t be with them physically?”. I think in this time, we need more signs of affection and support than we ever have because we are going to continue to be disconnected from one another physically in order to stay healthy and safe for the long haul. Let’s consider how to show love from the perspective of love languages:

 

  1. Acts of Service
  2. Words of encouragement and affirmation
  3. Gifts
  4. Physical Touch Physical Distancing with Compassion
  5. Quality Time

 

Acts of Service: So you can’t do things yourself for the persons you love, but you can choose to do some safe things that serve someone. You can: send a friend a meal from a local business or make them a meal or treat and drop it off, mow a friend’s yard or do other yard work like pull weeds and trim bushes, go to the store and get something they need or go to your own pantry and give them something they need. Chalk up someone else’s driveway! Call your friend. Face Time them. Take the time to connect with them and just ask if they need anything!

 

Words of Encouragement and Affirmation: Send something in the mail! Drop a letter at their house personally. Organize a car parade and drive past their house honking and holding signs, send a text or a marco polo telling your friend how much they mean to you, start a bucket list of all the things you want to do together when this is all over and share it with your people, tell someone what you miss about being together or just that you miss being together! Tell your people what you like about them! (This is also great for the people you are cohabitating with!)

 

Gifts: This one is easy but it doesn’t have to be expensive or boujee. Cut some flowers from your garden/yard and drop them at a friend’s house. Buy a small container of fresh herbs to grow or some bulbs/plants that will last so that when you are together again they will remind you of what you went through. Paint a rock, a flower pot, or a card and give it away, draw stick figures of what you wish you were doing together and send it to your friend, send your friend something off Amazon that you know they would love!

 

Physical Distancing with Compassion: All of the huggers in the world are not ok. Please have compassion on them. There are still ways you can show people you love them without touching them. Please do not shame people at this time if they are sad and long for some physical presence. If you are a hugger and you are feeling this loss acutely, it’s ok to admit it. Do a drive-by for your hug loving friend, show them that they matter by keeping your distance but still being willing to be present and show your face. Talk to someone from their porch while you stand in the driveway. It is safe for us to do this IF you keep your distance. Just stay in the open air and stay 6 to 12 feet away from each other and stay one-to-one. Don’t give up on being present especially for those who are lonely. Visit through the window of your house! Be creative! 

 

Quality Time: Even though we can’t sit and just be with one another physically, you CAN give of yourself and your time even in the midst of these challenges. Set aside an hour to call or facetime someone you love and even schedule it so that they know you are thinking of them and they know you’ve carved this time out for them. Be intentional with your attention and signs of affection. It matters to these people greatly.

 

This is a time of stress. It is not the “new normal” it is ABNORMAL. Don’t call it normal! It is a time in life where we will be challenged to think outside the box. Keep telling the people you love that you love them and how you love them. It will help you to feel better and it will help the person you share your love with feel better too.

 

Finally, I want to remind us all that there is no shame in getting COVID-19. The people who have contracted this virus will need safe love the MOST. Don’t let fear rule you or keep you from sharing the love that you have for others. Be safe and choose to love!

When I Grow Up…

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday. My husband surprised me by getting my best friend and her husband to fly in from Seattle and he threw me a giant surprise party at our church complete with a DJ and all my people from multiple different intersections of my life. It was a fun and joyful event and it made me feel so loved by my friends and family… which helped me offset the deep feelings about the milestone I had just set foot upon.

The interesting thing for me about my birthday is that it always instigates a well of feelings all around it. Is that unusual? I often wonder if that is other people’s experience as well… My birthday inspires me to do a lot of “checking in” about myself. Where am I from? What does that mean for me? Am I who I want to be? Did I achieve what I wanted to this year? What are my goals? What do I want to do next?

Although my birth certificate tells me that 40 years have passed since I have arrived on Earth, somehow it baffles me that I am truly this far along in life. I still feel 27 (and apparently I look it!); I have to catch myself when people ask me how old I am. I love the old adage that you are the age you feel. I certainly don’t feel 40!

I became a mother at the age of 27 and perhaps that is why that age is stuck in my heart. So much about us changes when we become parents. Dan Allender’s book, “How Children Raise Parents” is one of my all-time most favorite parenting books that I have read because it is so very true that raising children grows us and stretches us and presses us to look at God and ourselves in ways we never did before.

Mother Theresa

I’ve mentioned before that I am still deciding what I want to be when I grow up, but 40 has begun to change my mindset a bit. I’ve morphed from asking myself what I want to be when I grow up, to reminding myself that I AM grown and I am full of joy at the invitation to continue to discover the gifts I’ve been given and how I can utilize them in my sphere of influence.

There is a profound mystery in this life that we’ve been given. We love to “know” things so that we can make plans and respond well, but there is a limit to what we can know. That either frustrates us or it can pique our curiosity at what God has in store for us next.

As a mother of growing older kiddos, there is a lot of transition and undulation to my time and my attention. The moments of calm and quiet have invited me to consider with curiosity what God might be up to in my life and the path He has laid out for me. They give me an opportunity to learn and grow in areas I am passionate about for me personally because I have the space to do so. Yet there are also times when my moments are raging with activity; those are the times I need to remind myself of what to hold on to so that I am not blown and tossed about like waves of the sea.  This quote by Mother Theresa grounds me often in this season of my life. It directs my attention to what I want my priority to be. I have this quote hanging on a huge canvas right outside my bedroom door so that as I go downstairs to “enter the world” each day, I pass it and am reminded of what matters to me.

I still don’t have a career outside of attending to my family. It sounds very strange to say that as a woman in today’s culture and certainly as a 40-year-old “grown up” woman. I still feel a sense of less-than or lacking whenever I am asked what I do. And yet, that is my ordinary life and I am grateful to “do” this job for the past 11(ish) years since quitting my paid position.

40 feels like a more steady age in many ways; so much life is still ahead and so much life has been experienced. What a sweet spot! I guess that leaves me as a grateful grown up after all.