Commentary by Rev. Patti Napier
Social distancing and self-quarantine have become household terms overnight. Most of us experiencing the coronavirus pandemic have no personal memory of the polio epidemic in 1916 nor of the influenza pandemic in 1918. With that influenza, there were 4,000 deaths in one day in Philadelphia, but the city of St. Louis practiced social distancing similar to what we are doing now, which slowed the spread.
Social distancing and self-quarantine appear to be effective measures for us to take, but this need not relieve us of a responsibility to love and care for others. In fact, I will contend that it becomes even more important at these times. It simply means that we need to be creative in the ways that we may be connecting and supporting one another.
I speak from a Christian tradition, but I think this truth applies to all of us: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” When we love our neighbor, the fruit of that experience not only touches the one who receives the love but sparks warmth also in the heart of the one who reached out in love.
I would challenge every single one of us to consider these acts of love and kindness:
- Write a handwritten note to someone. Many say this is a lost art but one that brings great joy.
- Send an email to someone you do not regularly communicate with. Thinking of you!
- Put a big sign on your front door that is positive and bright. There are more people walking through neighborhoods now. This could be a fun activity for kids, too!
- On Fridays when you hear the test sirens, go outside and wave at your neighbors!
- Call those you know who live alone. Yours may be the only voice they hear today.
- Don’t forget about food pantries! At Carmel United Methodist Church, we are working diligently to maintain our regular hours of operation with adjusted processes to meet today’s standards. When you shop, could you pick up rice or cereal or feminine products and drop them off at the Mission House (621 S. Range Line Rd.) so that you may be a part of this effort to address food insecurity? The need is great!
Reaching out to others through acts of love and care warms the hearts of everyone in that transaction. This, too, helps to strengthen us while we practice social distancing and self-quarantine. For now, may this be a blessing to you.
Rev. Patti Napier is senior pastor of Carmel United Methodist Church.