Something great is happening in this new environment. We are learning.
We are learning more ways to serve those around us, and we are learning to be responsible for serving those in our local communities. We are learning our neighbors’ names. We are learning the value of nature and the value of touch. We are learning what family, fellow workers and leaders are made of; who has the ability to endure hardship, overcome obstacles, creatively adapt, serve and press through. We are learning patience. We are learning the importance of good communication. We are learning of our fragility and the value of life.
Something sad is happening in this new environment. People are dying from a virus. People are scared for their loved ones. People are losing their jobs. This is why we must embrace the great lessons we are learning.
Our ancestors endured more hardship than we will ever know. The resilience it built in them formed the foundations of liberty and charity we have come to understand. Centuries and decades have passed since society has experienced extreme adversity, and the current events bring us back into communion with those before us.
Hardship is required for improvement. We should embrace it as a friend and not a foe. Nassim Nicholas Taleb states it very simply in his book, "Antifragile",
“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius."
Adversity makes us better, and should be welcomed when it knocks on our door, and it knocks on the door of every life.
The poor, vulnerable and elderly are in our local communities. We can teach our kids how to serve those close to them and remove the ego of mission work. The house cleaner isn’t coming in the house, but she can still be paid. The waiter is not serving your meal but can still be tipped. Your neighbor lost their job, but you can buy their groceries. As you walk the park your smile can offer hope. As you are home in the evenings you can FaceTime everyone in your phone and ask, “How are you? What can I do for you?”
These times lead us to a greater focus: serving our local community where God has placed us. The local food bank, the homeless person on the same corner, the couple at church, the coworker down the hall, the elderly lady down the street…these are our ministries.
Consider the directive of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, "Life Together". He reminds us life was meant to be lived in community. We must accept community as we find it, not in how we would design it. “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”