I feel overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day things seem to get worse, and I feel powerless to do anything about it. Even going to church isn’t an option right now.
With businesses and restaurants shuttered and Sunday Masses cancelled, we can quickly feel isolated. But social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to stay close to God and one another. Even from inside our homes, we can connect with those around us through small acts of kindness that can have a ripple effect on others.
1. Be generous. Buy a gift card from your favorite restaurant or order takeout (and leave a tip!) where available. Pay or tip your hairdresser or cleaning person even if you have to cancel; they are vulnerable during a downturn like this.
2. Read. Set up a sharing library in your neighborhood and/or a virtual book group; support your local bookstore by purchasing books online as well.
3. Reach out. Call your grandma or friends with whom you have lost touch; encourage your children to write notes or draw pictures to send to those who may be lonely.
4. Get social. Go online to participate in a parish Bible study or meet up for a virtual Easter brunch. Watch a film together via Netflix Party (Bonus: It’s OK to “chat” during the movie).
5. Help neighbors by offering to pick up groceries or sharing hard-to-find items.
6. Keep holy the Sabbath. Gather with those around you and watch a televised/ live-streamed Mass. Pray a rosary together.
These everyday gestures can be powerful antidotes to the sense of helplessness and isolation many of us feel.
Remember Philippians 4:6-7: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Pat Mish is managing editor of Faith Grand Rapids magazine.