The Human Impact: Part 4
Throughout this blog series, I have intentionally sought to highlight areas of impact on people that have been given less attention than the mainstream narrative(s) of COVID-19 (part 1; part 2; part 3) the media has been highlighting. While the previous subjects we’ve covered of cultural, economic, and personal change aren’t easy, they are essential considerations for those with a Christian worldview. This submission will be no different, however it will have a tonal shift. For today, I would like us to consider the blessings and positive mindset shifts COVID-19 has introduced into the new normal.
Why focus on this? Consider Proverbs 15:30:
“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,and good news refreshes the bones.” (ESV)
We find verses like this throughout Proverbs. Without going into a deep exegesis of this verse and other Scriptures, we biologically and neurologically know that thoughts and feelings of joy and happiness physically revive our bodies (in the same way that thoughts and feelings of sadness or depression can sometimes physically deflate us). Knowing this, today I’d like to focus on good news and positive human impact(s). I desire for us to consider the joys and blessings that the last two months have yielded and discern how we might use this as a platform for life, moving forward.
It would seem appropriate for me to lead by example. As I shared in a video devotional yesterday, one of the tremendous blessings that has come out of this pandemic season for me is an increasingly close relationship with my two-year-old son. We did not have a poor relationship prior by any means, but he more naturally gravitated to his mommy (with our older daughter more naturally gravitating to me). However, with an increased prominence of homeschooling in our home and more availability on my part to be accessed by my son in between various meetings and counseling appointments, our relationship has flourished.
It has not been anything new or revolutionary. It has been me prioritizing the times that I would have gotten up for a walk around the church to stretch my legs for 3-5 minutes or make a cup of coffee, instead being used to play a quick game or chase him up and down the hall. I have also made sure that before and after every meeting or counseling appointment, I come out for a moment for “hugs and kisses” and a quick check-in with him where he tells me all about his most recent adventure in potty-training. Or allowing him to sit “crisscross applesauce” on the right side of my desk while I am responding to email. He’s started to want me, not Mommy, to put him to bed at night (no small feat, I assure you)! Even now, as I type this, he is using my right shoulder as a stabilizer jumping up and down on a (secure) Rubbermaid tub just chatting away—happy to be in the same room and chatter away with me as I work. All of this from simply being more accessible and prioritizing the little moments. I have been blessed with what would have otherwise been used profitably, but for something else if I were in my church office.
Much of this comes down to my perspective. It is the choice I make to not think of his impact on me as being inconvenient to my work. Instead, it is my thinking about the impact I am having on him. I am intentionally demonstrating Daddy is not just present, he is available more than he was before. The positive impact has been evident. Our relationship has flourished, and we both are better for it.
This is not exclusive to me. Over the last few weeks, I have begun to ask others to share their COVID-19 blessings with me as well. Shared with permission, below is a sampling and summary of the blessings people shared with me that God has created in the midst of this season…
“[My wife] and I are still working but getting to spend more time with our extended family and children as they are helping us with our kids and school.” – Neil
“I am encouraged and motivated to exercise to stay out of a slump! I am walking three miles every day while my husband bikes!” – Denese
“I met a new friend by sending a caring note to someone from another campus. We have been writing letters back and forth a few times already and it’s interesting how much we have in common. It’s a God thing! We are anxious to meet in person someday.” – Shirlee
“I am so thankful for the extra time I have been given to talk with my 99-year-old grandma. We both have truly enjoyed our long daily chats.” – Debbi
“God has provided for us and we have had so much more time together as a family.” – Beth
“More time with remote family members than normal on family Zoom calls and family game nights via Zoom.” – Tina
“More joyful quality family time via Zoom with a positive focus.” – Sharon
“In the midst of a recession in my industry and hundreds out of work, God actually blessed me with not just stable employment, but a promotion!” – Chris
“Being able to go on walks, ride bikes, and playing board games with my son.” – Ann
“I’m able to share God with friends who normally wouldn’t have been open to listening.” – Wendy
A friend of mine and her kiddos wanted to bless other people. She went out of her way to set an example for her kids, and they blessed them through service. Here’s what she said:
“I know this is last minute, but do you know any local people in need or that could use something to brighten up their day? We bought a few pizzas and are going to drop them off on people’s front porches!” – They delivered eight blessings and jolts of encouragement in the form of pizza to seven families!” – Hope
Friends, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Today, I want to challenge you in three ways:
Christian, my sincere hope for this submission is that we not lose ourselves in the losses, the changes, the sadness, and the demands of our ever-changing culture. These are all very real things. But they are not the whole of it. I pray we slow down, see God at work in affirming ways in our lives, and challenge us to be an encouragement to someone else now and in the future! May God encourage us to that end.