Here’s to the moms, homeschooling when they always said “I’ll homeschool when it snows in Djibouti… or Miami … or Chiang Mai.” In other words “Never” and never has suddenly become now.
Here’s to the restaurant worker, who is suddenly furloughed from an eighty hour work week.
Here’s to the teachers turning their carefully thought out lesson plans into online classes.
Here’s to the young woman who just got a job at Target excited for her first paycheck only to find out there will be no more.
Here’s to the nurse, carefully isolating herself from her family to keep them safe.
Here’s to the student, lonely and feeling trapped.
Here’s to the graduate who will not be able to walk.
Here’s to the bride, who tearfully postponed her wedding Unsure of when it can be rescheduled.
Here’s to the women and men setting up home offices and new systems, trying to continue their jobs.
Here’s to the grocery store employee, wiping down carts and checkout counters with bleach.
Here’s to the healthcare workers, on the frontlines of care.
Here’s to the priest and the pastor, the imam and the rabbi, praying for congregations in crisis.
Here’s to the homeless, fighting one more difficult day, one more crisis in a long list.
Here’s to the families trapped on three sides of the globe, to the third culture kid trying to get home, to the parents and siblings, brothers and sisters separated.
Here’s to the family grieving with no funeral, the community rallying with no physical contact, the church seeking to function while apart.
Here’s to the poor and the refugee – those whose reality has changed little, but whose hope looks even bleaker.
Here’s to the helpers, the doers, the prayers, the seekers, the scholars, the researchers, the neighbors, the givers, the comforters, the organizers, the activists, the optimists, the pessimists, the realists, the pragmatists, the lonely, the sad, the fearful, and the angry.
Here’s to our collective humanity and image bearing. May we reach across what divides us and open our hearts wide to the God who loves us. May we be willing to give of our abundance and receive from our need. May we have patience and resilience, may our eyes be open wide to the world and our small part in that world.
And may God be with us and comfort us.
Advice from a friend in Shanghai:
Since we got a head start with the COVID-19 over here in China, some friends have asked me for advice in navigating this time. Take only what’s helpful for you!
- Stay at home. Yes, I totally understand the urge to resist this, but the sooner you can accept it and stay home, the better it will be for everyone, including you.
- Assume that you could be the carrier. I haven’t been too worried about contracting the virus myself, but I became much more careful when I started thinking how I could potentially spread it to others.
- Don’t bring germs into your house. Wash your hands as soon as you come home. In Asia, we take off our shoes at the door, and this might be a good practice for everyone right now. Consider changing your outer clothes or showering if you’ve been out in a public place. Don’t forget to clean your phone and your keys!
- Focus on what you can control (yourself). There are too many things that are outside of your control right now. Instead, find ways you can boost your immune system and/or prevent your exposure. For many Asians, that means wearing face masks and opening the windows. I personally use essential oils to support to our immune systems and buy fruit for my family like a mad woman. Whatever strategies can strengthen you, whether it’s making grandma’s chicken soup or deep cleaning your house, I say go for it!
- Take care of your own physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The stronger you are, the better you can survive and even thrive during this time. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise daily. Pray like crazy. Turn off the news. Watch something funny. Call a friend. Do a conference call with a group of friends. Listen to a podcast. Read a book. Get e-therapy. Learn something new. Go for a walk or a drive. If you have a balcony or a yard, sit outside in the fresh air and sun.
- If you have faith, put it into action. Trust in God. Meditate on His promises. Listen to worship music. God is greater than our circumstances, and He provides for us even in times of uncertainty. Be a light during this dark time. Don’t give in to fear or settle for mere self-preservation; your neighbor needs the hope and the love that you give, albeit in creative ways. Look out for those who are isolated, struggling, or vulnerable to domestic violence.
- Be generous. Give a gift card to someone who is not able to work during this time. Support your church even though the services have been cancelled. Pay your employees. Order take-out. Support small businesses. Donate blood. Give a phone call to someone who is vulnerable. Send a card to someone in a nursing home. Offer to shop for someone else. Donate to a food bank. Sew cloth masks. There are endless possibilities to sow seeds of generosity during this time. [From my friend Ruth and used with permission.]