Here we are. With all of our hopes and dreams for 2020, I am fairly certain no one really saw this one coming. Three months in and the world has come to a grinding halt. I’ll be honest and perhaps expose my naivety, but I didn’t actually think in my lifetime I would watch the world just…stop. End? Sure. I can go that dark. Pause? Region by region, my mind can grasp that. But to just…stop. Like the whole world is hunkered down for a hurricane expected to last for months rather than hours. It’s just weird. (And I live in the land of hurricanes. I know how to hunker with my water and flashlights.)
My family, being ever the over-achievers we strive to be, already has a leg up on the rest of you, world, as we have been self-isolating for a week already. Levi came down with the normal flu a week ago and I went right behind him a few days later. My kitchen counter is now covered with drugs, cleaners and hippie remedies. We have hunkered down and widely expect to murder one another sometime in the coming weeks. Just know the murders, however they play out, were just and probably involved one member of our family, who shall go unnamed, asking one time too many when he could have screen time again.
In my fever dreams and time spent staring out the living room window, I have found myself thinking of all the books I have read over the years about the women of World War II. Not the Rosie the Reverters or the Florence Nightingales, but the every day women. The women who kept the fires going at home. The ones who learned to celebrate birthdays without sugar for cakes. The ones who learned how to wash clothes without soap and who figured out how to heat homes without coal. These women made small and large choices of bravery every day.
Sometimes these choices involved acts we would actually call brave. They hid other women and children who were in actual physical danger. They nursed injured soldiers back to health behind enemy lines. They physically risked their lives at a time when no one really asked or expected them to.
But amongst those huge acts of bravery were thousands of smaller brave choices, chief among them, the bravery in being generous. Time and time again, in those stories, you see women being outrageously generous. Sharing what little they had when they cannot possibly have any left to spare.
We aren’t in war. At least not the kind where bombs are dropping and guns are firing. But we are in crisis. Uncertainty lurks behind every door and panic has been far from held at bay. We are all being encouraged to be kind. To be patient. To be law-abiding and compliant citizens. And we must be all of those things.
Let’s add to that list generosity. Can you be generous right now? As silly as it sounds, can you spare a roll of toilet paper when apparently we aren’t confident any more exists on the planet? Can you grill up some extra burgers for your neighbors when the meat section at your local grocers is empty right now? Can you send an extra tube of wipes to the mom down the street with 4 snotty noses in her house right now?
These seem like such small acts of bravery but that’s what they are: brave. It’s brave to be generous in the face of recession. It’s brave to give when you aren’t certain you will find more tomorrow. It’s brave to serve strangers while also serving those you love every day.
I have a lot of worries and anxieties about tomorrow, not to mention downright fears, like Levi’s Nintendo Switch dying, but I am confident even in these uncertain times, the sun will rise tomorrow and the next day and the day after. I am certain humanity will prevail and God’s grace exists no matter what. I am certain people will be kind. I am certain this will hurt. I am certain this will be hard. I am certain my son will never learn long division. I am also certain people can be generous. We can be generous with one another. We can be brave.