“Beloved, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3:18)
There are many opinions as to the cause of the pandemic and the cumbersome mandates that followed. Nonetheless, one thing is certain – having a close friend or loved one die suddenly from something that appears to be of unnatural origin is frustrating at best. It raises so many questions, and death leaves a lasting void in the heart.
Each day during the Pandemic, the latest count of deaths attributed to the disease was reported. As the number increased, the effect on the loved ones left behind grew.
According to pnas.org, a scientific journal, research estimates that for every person who died of COVID-19, nine close family members were affected. Any death of a loved one is difficult for those surviving, but when the death is premature, the sorrow is a staggering blow. This is a feeling we certainly do not want to become accustomed to.
Hearing others talk about friends and family they lost during the pandemic should cause us to appreciate the people who remain in our life. Our parents, siblings, extended family and friends and even neighbors and co-workers. We should want to savor every moment we are together. The holidays and birthdays should be even more momentous.
Since the threat of the pandemic has receded and people are able to gather more frequently, I have found that not only my appreciation for mankind has increased but also my interest in other people. Some have used the hardship of the pandemic as a conversation point we all have experienced. Perhaps you have not been inclined to reach out to someone near you. Challenge that hesitation and make it your new objective to find familiar territory with a stranger.
The urgency of witnessing to lost souls has certainly increased over the past year. It is imperative that we take ownership of each soul that God wants us to reach. A simple invitation is not enough anymore; building a rapport and making ourselves available at any moment for them is now so essential.
Once a relationship is built, it takes work to maintain. COVID has caused most people to have relationships that are more meaningful. The casual peripheral relationships have been replaced with more time with family at home and more meaningful relationships with others. For many, that time has led to a deepening of family connections.
Coming out of the holiday season, our time with family and friends now holds extra sparkle. It was not the special gifts or the sugar cookies, it was looking around the table and seeing the family draw close and hearing the laughter of the children.
Make it your purpose to enhance your relationships with everyone around you! The time we took our loved ones for granted is time we can never get back.
~ M Karns