She clutches a balled-up tissue, staring out of the window at the empty visitors parking lot. A tear slips down her cheek.
No visitors allowed for…how long did they say? Did they mean family? I can’t remember. Will Julie bring my jellybeans and bananas and a new magazine? I’ve already read the last one. What if I run out of medicine?
How many elderly folks confined in facilities or in their homes experience loneliness, fear, and isolation while the country practices social distancing? Do they understand the current news or are they confused about why no one is coming?
Others, not so elderly, stay confined due to health concerns or fear of being in public. My heart aches for all of them.
Yet, what can we do when visits are prohibited or limited in some cases? As Christians, what responsibilities and privileges do we have in this dilemma?
Let’s look to Scripture for answers.
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.1 John 3:23
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’Matthew 25:35
How joyous our hearts will be when we reach out to those who need love and assurance! God will receive glory when we minister to others in His name.
Consider the list below for ways we can extend love while being safe during this period of social distancing. I hope you’ll add to the list in Comments.
Loving One Another During Social Distancing
Make a telephone call. Hearing a human voice will add cheer to the day. Tell the person when you plan to call back and ask the best time of day.
Call before you shop or order to determine if you can select items for someone who cannot go to stores. Add a card or treat to their bag.
- Visit through the window.
As some are doing, call from outside of the window so the dear one you’re visiting can see you while you chat. Seeing a loved one or friend is soothing to a troubled heart. If you can’t visit in person, use FaceTime if the other person is able.
- Write a letter.
Mail a card or handwritten note. Some of us maintain connections via social media, but some elderly or ill people cannot manage the technology.
- Send artwork.
Mail children’s artwork, scribbles, or letters. Tuck pictures of the children in the envelope.
- Mail a cheer-up package.
Mail or drop-off a cheer-up package. You might include a small tube of hand cream, family photos, a magazine, a large print devotional book, or candy and cookies treats. (Check dietary limitations first.)
- Send flowers.
Have flowers delivered or drop off a bouquet from your yard if possible.
- Ship a music CD.
If the person has access to a CD player, mail or ship a CD of hymns.
- Share Bible verses.
Design simple cards with Bible verses that offer comfort and the joy of the Lord. You could punch holes in them and add a ring or twist tie to hold them together. This is a perfect time to remind Christians of the Lord’s presence. It’s also an opportune time to share His love with those who don’t know Him yet as Savior.
- Illustrate and frame a verse.
If you aren’t artistic, choose an image from Pixabay or other sites that offer free pictures. Print the verse on or near the picture and place it in a frame.
How can you close the gap of social distancing for someone who is lonely or fearful by sharing the love of Jesus? Please, please, please share ideas in comments below. We can all check back during the week as the list grows.
Love one another.
Bible verses are taken from the ESV.