You don’t have to be particularly well-versed in the christian bible to recognize the greatest commandment. Some people call it the golden rule. Others may call it karma. In fact, some version of it exists in every major religion. We, as human beings on this crazy planet together in the midst of a corona virus global pandemic, are most good and most true to ourselves when we love god and love people the same way we love ourselves.
Yes, I paraphrased Jesus. Don’t worry, he’s fine with it.
The fear and anxiety that we are collectively under thanks to the COVID-19 has magnified the insular way we can think. Whether that’s disregarding directives to social-isolate because we are young or hoarding toilet paper because we got to Costco first, this kind of pandemic can cause us to become our worst selves. It can also give us the opportunity to be so much better.
Love God in the Time of Corona
I’m not here to define god to you. I don’t particularly care if you worship in a (virtual) church on Sundays or if you do so with the feel of soil sliding between your fingers in a garden. We love god by loving something bigger than ourselves and our own fears and anxieties.
Sometimes I do love god in an actual religious service. Other times I love god when I’m washing dishes and stop for three seconds to look out my window to see that the world is exactly what it was like a month ago. I’m the one who has been changed. I often see god in my kids who have only the slightest idea of what is happening around them and yet are still hilarious and insane and exhausting.
God is near to you too if you’re open.
Love Your Neighbor
First of all you love your neighbors by staying the eff home. No seriously, stay home. Pretend that you’re a walking time bomb of COVID-19 and that interacting with people other than the most necessary will make you explode. Stay. Home.
But other than that, teach your elderly neighbors (from a 6 foot distance) how to use a grocery delivery system or do online banking. If they’re internet-adverse, do it for them. You can cash their handwritten check digitally anyway.
Buy from small businesses. In California, where I live, the corona lockdown has been devastating for small businesses and their employees. Order take-out if you can and tip your delivery people generously. If your usual stores are closed, consider buying an online gift card to use once business returns to normal.If your grocery store is empty, you may want to check with your local ethnic food store.
Love your family. It’s okay if your kids don’t finish every part of their homeschool work. This is an unprecedented time in history, it’s fine if they learn their times table in fourth grade instead of third. It’s way more important that your kids, spouse, roommates, parents, friends, whomever you’re isolating with, have time with you.
The time has come to bust out your face-masks and finally learn how to make a fishtail braid. Read the books that make you happy. Binge watch every season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Watch Christmas movies in March. Make a dart board of certain politicians’ faces and let out some pent up aggression. Scroll through instagram live for concerts from your favorite musicians or to watch Tyler Cameron work out. Do whatever you need to do to feel good and normal and happy.
I usually run for miles when I’m anxious but a knee injury has taken me out of the game. So, I called my doctor and got a refill on my anxiety medication. Loving myself means choosing to be fine with that.
It’s more important than ever to make yourself a priority.
We are going to get through this, but with a little love in the meantime, we can come out better than we were before.
Full disclosure, I’ve never actually read Love in the Time of Cholera, but I did see the movie Serendipity when Kate Beckinsale wrote her phone number in the cover so it’s basically the same thing. How are you loving god, your neighbor and yourself during this crazy time? Let’s talk in the comments.
Heidi is currently obsessed with watching people make bad decisions on TV, being a coastal elite, artificially avoiding any sign of aging, reading feminist romance novels, and getting the biggest laugh at her own expense. She has a husband, 3 kids, a dog and anxiety.