They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
My New Year’s resolution was to travel less. I travel a lot for work and am a bit of an adventure seeker in my spare time so I am rarely at home, let alone still. I thought it was a nice resolution. I’d spend more time with my pets and maybe finally paint the guest room.
Then came COVID-19. Suddenly my resolution is forced reality. I’m freaked out by a nagging lonesomeness. I’m concerned for friends, loved ones, and strangers who are in vulnerable situations economically and physically. But today’s first reading gave me a positive sense of pause.
This is scary on so many levels and we all know that. But look at the opportunity we’ve been given. The opportunity to foster real relationships with those closest to us, relationships for which we may have lost focus. The opportunity for collective care. The opportunity to literally and metaphorically live in the houses we build and eat the fruit of the vineyards we plant.
We have been given the rare opportunity to slow down and help God build this new earth. Where, if we take our responsibility of self isolation and community care seriously, people will live. Not just from reducing the spread of COVID-19, but also because for the first time in a long time we’re checking in on people. We’re thinking about the difficulties vulnerable populations face. We’re organizing collectively for all people, not just our pet causes. We’re remembering that we belong to each other, that we are all beloved children of God.
From creating window scavenger hunts for the neighborhood kids (and adults) and opening stores for senior citizens, to organizing to make sure people are fed and sheltered, we’ve stepped up to share love in so many big and small ways. This gives me hope, not just during but the pandemic, but for this new earth. How can we continue to share love? And how can we keep this connectedness throughout the crisis and beyond?
Lena Chapin is the development director for Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from John Carroll University, she spent a year in Immokalee, Florida with the Humility of Mary Volunteer Service. Lena worked for the Ignatian Solidarity Network from 2016-2022.