This has been a crazy year, hasn’t it? That is probably an understatement.
It feels like it should only be about the month of March since the country all but closed down due to the Coronavirus. Between masks and social distancing, you may feel like your neighbors are now strangers, instead of the friends they were to you just six months ago. Even going to the grocery store feels rather odd for those who are wearing masks – have you noticed it is difficult to smile at those you pass by when they can only see your eyes?
Cities and businesses are opening again, though, and people aren’t discouraged from leaving home like before.
Do you remember in old western movies when men were travelling west in hopes of finding a new life apart from the industrial cities they were leaving? As they moved west, they built their homes quite a distance from each other, adamant about their independence and owning their own plots of land. However, they were plagued with loneliness, sickness and even starvation, which was not what they had envisioned for their futures out west.
As time went on, settlers realized their survival rates would be better if they built their homes at the corner of their land, closer to their neighbors, rather than in the center of their properties. Enduring hard times and illness was much easier than when they thought complete independence was the best way.
Human beings were not created to be islands to themselves. During the past several months, some have really struggled because of the government mandates to stay home. Now that things are somewhat getting back to normal, what does this mean for you, and what can you do with your recovered freedom?
When in doubt, we can always consult “The Book” to hopefully find some answers. With time on my hands in the last few months, I’ve dusted my copy off and really delved in for once, and found several gems, such as:
Mark 12:31: And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Visit your neighbors! With job lay-offs and cut income, some of them need encouragement. Let them know you’ve missed them. How have they been? How are their families? Is there anything they need?
Your neighbor isn’t just the man, woman, or family across the driveway either. It is also the waitress at the local diner. It’s the husband and wife who own the grocery store down the road. It’s the dad and mom pushing the baby stroller in front of your house on an evening walk.
And just one more excerpt from the Good Book:
Romans 15:1-2: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.
Take the opportunity to give a word of encouragement and a helping hand. If you go out to eat, leave a generous tip for the waitress, who was likely laid off because of the virus. Do business locally when you can. Offer a wave and a smile to the young couple walking near your home.
Every gesture, whether great or small, makes a difference. Your actions can encourage the discouraged, and show those around you that they matter, and you care. And with this, God would be pleased, I think, too.