We left town on Monday for Spring Break and while we were gone full-blown Covid-19 panic moved to town and took up residence. As we got closer to home yesterday and closer to rush hour, I could feel an insidious worry taking root inside of me. This wasn’t about the disease or fear, it was about the fact that we had a post vacay food situation: no milk, juice, bread, low pasta supply (the only meal all four of my children love) and very little cream (YIKES!!!).
When I went to Trader Joes, (admittedly not the best idea) it was crawling with people and FULL buggies. And also there were so many empty shelves.
How do we love our neighbor during war, famine, and disease?
Last night as I pondered this and the food, toilet paper, and bottled water situation in my city (and everywhere), I kept thinking of that scene in Its a Wonderful Life, when there’s a run on the bank. And it applies here.
In it, we see George and Mary, who are just married with a pocket full of cash, about to have a (much deserved) honeymoon until they see the “Building and Loan” is in trouble. In fact, everyone is. When George gets there, Uncle Billy is freaking out in the backroom and people want their money. All of it. “But that’s not how it works,” he tells them, “I don’t have all of your money.” Still. Even in the face of logic, many want what they are owed. They are scared. Panicked. Some don’t care that they are taking away George’s honeymoon at this point. Fear has blinded them to sense and consideration for others. Until Mrs. Davis. “Could I have 17.50?” And with that, George leans across the counter and kisses her on the lips. Mrs. Davis recognized that she didn’t need ALL of her money to make it through the crisis. She asked for what she needed and no more. In so doing, she considered others as more important than herself. The heroes in this story are George and Mary, who gave all they had. The humble is Mrs. Davis, who takes what she needs. Which ones are we?
I started a blog post a month ago when we were mainly worried about politics. Then I finished it last week and posted it right here (please read it!) when there were a handful of cases in the US. Everything is different even now. But I still think we can replace our fear and panic with something better. Perhaps, while we join the droves in our local stores, we can buy what our family needs (and maybe a little more, just in case), but not 6 months’ worth. Maybe we can check on local food banks’ supplies. When things shut down and schools extend spring breaks, some people don’t work, and then they don’t eat or can’t pay bills. Maybe we can call our churches and our shelters and donate the extra (extra) food we have, or extra money (in some cases). Let’s be helpers. How can we be helpers?
Believers in Jesus are told repeatedly not to fear. We are told to be hospitable without grumbling. We’re told (not asked) to put others first. And then we’re told to TRUST and wait for peace. Last night as we drove home to the unknown, we talked with our kids about Coronavirus and anxiety and what ration tickets were (haha…no for real) and this verse,
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [c]near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I hope when our kids tell our grandkids about 2020 and the coronavirus that we can look back and be proud of our behavior. That we kept looking for ways to give and serve even though we were a little freaked out. I hope we can remember how we were committed to prayer and how our faith grew and our peace was multiplied. I hope we learned that blame doesn’t get us anywhere and that working together is always the better option. And… I hope that we didn’t buy up all the toilet paper for ourselves. 🙂
PS. And sorry if you saw me rolling my eyes all over Trader Joes last night. That was rude, I admit. 🙂 I just wanted one package of pasta.
PPS. And also loving your neighbor looks like following the CDC handwashing/sickness guidelines all the time…please and thank you.