Unite in Love

Friends,

Over the course of my life, I have seen many things. I have lived many places, including over 10 years in Italy, a place for which I currently grieve alongside my beautiful friends. I, my husband, or both have been in some kind of ministry related field for over 20 years. All of the things I want to express I have seen first hand. I am not speculating. I am not making things up. I am not trying to get political gain. I have no agenda. I just know people. I love people. I have a heart for Jesus and the gospel message. I want to be the biggest and best light out there. I desire to give, to serve, to make people happy, to win them to the Kingdom. And, for many of my friends, I think that you do, too. Maybe we have forgotten how.

Yesterday I did some personal shopping for nine different families. Yes, I spent about nine hours in stores, on my feet, in my car, and at people’s homes. Some of them were in wheelchairs. Some just had surgery. Some are imunocompromised. Some have sick children or babies or businesses to run before the economy takes a hit. And some, many, didn’t get the things that they needed. Legitimate things that are on their list every time I see them. Normal things that shouldn’t be hoarded. Then, today while out with my family, my daughter is told by a mom that she is stressed out because she has a 7 month old baby and there were only 5 packages of wipes in the store. For everyone. At the next store I watched as my daughter picked up wipes (that she buys consistently and uses for her face) and then later put them back without purchasing them because someone else probably needs them more. Life is full of decisions.

The government has begun to shut down public gatherings. Sporting events. Universities. Schools. We are being told to stay home. My mother, who works in a nursing home, has to have her temperature taken before entering the building. She has to sign in every time she goes to work. There are no more visitors to her (or any in our area) nursing home. They may have to begin eating in their rooms as early as tonight.

We live in a community that offers free breakfast and lunch for our public school students. A community where, at the time of implementation, 83% of our students qualified for a free or reduced lunch. There are a number of kids that I know benefit from this and struggle when school is out of session.

I know many teachers and school staff. My daughter works for the YMCA and they will close tonight at 10PM and be closed until the end of the month. People will be losing work, and therefore compensation.

Friends, remember when I said that I think you want to shine? I know that you want to do right? To spread love? To take care of others? Today I’m telling you that you NEED to. We need to. We need to band together like never before. We need to set aside differences and work together for good. We need to lift others up, not drag them down or leave them behind. I want to share some ways that you can show your faith by your loving deeds. Just in case you have forgotten.

Remember that not everyone will make the same decisions as you. I have an autoimmune disease. Because of this, I know others who suffer like me. We have a little “club.” Not really, but definitely a camaraderie. Maybe there will be a time that they decide to stay home. That’s it. They need to stay well. Respect that decision. They are not silly. They are not overreacting. They probably hate it, hate their bodies, are embarrassed, and probably very lonely. Check up on them. Call them. Like with a phone. And voices.

Those sweet, sweet seniors in nursing homes. They must stay well. And protected. But, some of them didn’t even have visitors before. You may have relatives in a nursing home that you “forget” or “get too busy” to visit. How lonely that must be. If they end up losing their dining hall time, how sad that would be to lose the only time you have for being around other people. Call them. Pray for them. Send a note or a card. Face time so they can see your home. Buy them a treat, and have it sent in.

Those families who rely on free breakfast or lunch? What might be a very big deal to them, might not be a big deal at all to you. Help them. Reach out. Don’t judge. That’s the last thing a loving parent needs right now. Make sandwiches. Buy some granola bars. Drop off some canned goods. Love your neighbor no matter who they are. Yesterday is done, tomorrow is a new day. Start over. I had a sweet friend message me today telling me that she made a big pot of soup. She said that this world needs our love, and if I knew anyone who needs a hot meal, let her know. They want to share! That is showing our God to the world, people. That is doing the right thing.

The people losing out on work? Yes, for now there will be safety nets and systems in place. But, in the long run? Will the sweet lady you see every day at the Y or your favorite server at your favorite restaurant need a little help? Help them now. Drop off a note, a $20 bill, a bag of groceries. Say, I know it’s tough not knowing your future, but I care about you. Just knowing someone cares sparks something big in us! No one wants to be the jerk who stops the succession of cars paying for the person behind them in the drive through. Kindness grows. Kindness is contagious. Start something little. It might turn into something big.

Friends, I care about you. I really do. And, I know you care about your neighbors, too. Please, let’s remember how to take care of each other.

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