When it comes to He Who Must Not Be Named, most of us know full well what not to do by now—but what can we do to encourage one another as we go about our quiet days at home? It’s not a difficult reach to guess how disconnected and unmotivated we might feel without regular interaction, and especially without communal worship and fellowship. And it doesn’t take a PhD in Social Psychology to know many of us may be diagnosed with a raging case of the empties (if not the actual Coronavirus) before the Covid-wave passes.
Knowing I’m about to have a lot of time on my hands, I’m looking for ideas for those quiet midday Tuesdays when it’s going to be tempting to find myself hollowing out to a sneaky and unintended Netflix binge or playing the day’s 10th round of that addictive phone game. I’d love to make some choices that edify Christ, myself as a Christ-follower, my family whom I want to love well, and my friends and neighbors—believers and non-believers alike—both over the fence and over the WiFi.
With that in mind, here are a few ways for you/me/us to consider the lonely, and expand the definition of who that could be and what that could look like.
- Say hello to your neighbors. Knock on a front door and tell them you just wanted to see their face and ask if they needed anything.
- Set up a Facetime playdate for your kiddos. Let them giggle and make faces at one another for three minutes before someone accidentally hangs up on the other.
- Start a new text chain. Think co-workers from different departments, friends who love John Hughes films, acquaintances from the gym you see in different classes . . . whoever it is, seek to bring a smile to your recipients with a little (appropriate and tasteful) levity. Corona Haiku challenge, anyone?
- Challenge a friend to an online game. Chess, Words with Friends, QuizUp—a passive and brief remembrance of someone else throughout the day.
- Love on the helpers. Remember your kids’ teachers, your pastors and church staff, your kids’ Sunday school teachers. Text them you/your kid/teenager miss them and can’t wait for this mess to be over. Tell them that you aren’t sure you’ve said thank you for all they do and that you want to do so now.
- Call your grandmother. Say I love you.
- Read those who’ve walked a hard road. Pick up something from Joni Eareckson Tada or Sheldon Vanauken or Jay and Katherine Wolf on disease and suffering and the glory of God and have a good cry and raise your arms in the submission of worshiping Someone we don’t always understand.
- Invite a few friends to do a Bible study virtually. (The app Voxer is great for this.)
- Tell people you miss them. Pick up the telephone and old-fashioned phone a friend. As one of mine said the other day, “I just needed to hear your voice.” Say that. It felt great to hear it. It’s good to be missed.
- Say thank you to our health care workers. For those in your friend group, send an actual text. Don’t include any questions or awfulizing—just say thank you and tell them how their self-sacrifice reminds you of Jesus.
When the Covid-19 fallout settles, may we as Christ-followers be revealed to have pointed others toward the fear of God alone, and to lean toward the utter abandon of joyful submission to the promises of his goodness, no matter our circumstances. And may we have done so with kindness, humor, offerings of creative connectedness, and a couple memorable whoopin’s at Words with Friends.
About the Author:
Holly Mackle is the curator of the mom humor collaboration Same Here, Sisterfriend, Mostly True Tales of Misadventures in Motherhood, author of the family Advent devotional Little Hearts, Prepare Him Room, and editor at engagingmotherhood.com. She is the wife of a handsome, mama of two flower-sneaking bitties, and a fairly decent gardener and hopefully better humorist for joegardener.com. She spends most of her free time explaining to her two young girls why their hair will not do exactly what Queen Elsa’s does.