Over the last few weeks, as the coronavirus has played havoc with our lives, it has been both deeply encouraging—and frustrating—to see how people are responding. On the plus side, I loved Governor Cuomo’s introduction of “New York Clean” hand sanitizer. Regardless of what we might think about his politics, I appreciate how, in a few short sentences, he calls out people who are price gouging, offers a local solution and reassures the people of New York that their government is taking action. I was also encouraged (to be honest, I cried last night) as I read this story about a small Italian restaurant in San Anselmo, California that offered its customers not just takeout but also “help to those who are in need of items that have disappeared from store shelves, like toilet paper, hand towels, bleach, sponges, and many more items that restaurants normally use. If we have it, we’ll give you some at our cost, just ask!” Here in Durham, NC, it seems like business after business, and most community and institutional leaders, have been doing all they can to help. Likewise, many small groups are organizing mutual help, such as the ncrestaurantrelief.com fund or the woman in my neighborhood who handed out flyers looking for people to share needs (“Check this box if you need groceries”) and offers to help (“I can drive.”)
On the other hand, I am guessing that you too have seen leaders communicating poorly and people acting selfishly and have worried about finding toilet paper, which is currently suffering from an artificial shortage due to hoarding.
Does tragedy make people worse? Does it call out the best in us? I think it does neither. I think it gives us one more chance to respond “yes” or “no” to the love of God and love for our neighbor, one more chance to decide who we are and who we are becoming.
On Your Own
We’d like to invite you to respond to a few questions in one of two ways.
- Share with a group you are already a part of (or organize a new small group for sharing) via Google Hangout, Zoom, Facebook, etc.
- If you are not part of a group like that, join the WeCanNeighbor conversation here (on Facebook) or here (on Instagram).
- What opportunities have you taken—or could you take—to help a friend or neighbor this week?
- Are there encouraging stories you have heard about people helping each other?
- How are you and God doing? What are you doing with your worries, frustration, isolation, energy?