This weekend I was reading about the Pope and how dramatically different His world, and all faith worlds, are right now, since no one can gather in their religious spaces with all of the requirements of staying at home to stop the spread of the virus. One article I read raised the question that some people ask, and that’s where’s the church been lately? To be fair, unlike with other world-challenging situations, those of religious backgrounds can’t do a whole lot and aren’t able to minster in their typical ways. But I digress, that’s not really what we’re here to talk about today. Instead I want to talk about a variation on that question, and that’s what do we do in this situation? What is ‘our part’ (from the saying “do your part”)?
Is it staying at home? Is it cheering for medical professionals at a certain time with open windows? Is it moving the economy along? Is it giving people time to heal before the world resumes activities? Is it bringing groceries to neighbors? Is it taking a job where you can? Is it panicking? With the exception of the last idea there, I don’t believe there is one right answer. This is true for many aspects of our lives: there isn’t only one right way to success, there isn’t always a single right relationship to be in for your whole adult life, there isn’t a best nutritional plan to follow for everyone, there isn’t only one good way to raise or educate children, there isn’t one thing that makes everyone happy universally.
But it does speak to one of the most universal truths, and that’s that we’re all human and should be respected and treated as such. It means accepting that everyone won’t love you and what you’re passionate about. It means you won’t always see eye to eye with everyone on every topic. It means we’ll all work through this challenge/trauma differently. It means we’ve each had different life experiences. But it also means that, especially when situations like these present (but not exclusive to them), it’s always good to interact with each other with compassion, love, a patient heart and mind, and a willingness to listen.
To address the earlier question, there’s one thing all of us can do, and that’s share something encouraging or supportive or even funny with others in our realm of influence. Keep sending out newsletters and blogging in your (business/non-profit) community even if they’re of a little different topic than usual. Stay connected by sharing on social media and through text and phone calls and on online communities. Pass on knowledge you have that can help someone else through this challenge. And if you feel capable of doing something beyond that, then with appropriate investigation and planning, go ahead and do that.
The only way our communities will emerge from this intact is if we make the effort to stay connected and not shy away from the world or erect mental and emotional boundaries where there are currently physical ones. How are you keeping your community strong?