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Some Things Are So Meaningful

Updated: May 10, 2020

Something is going on during the COVID crisis. People are doing things that help them discover what life is all about. Some ordinary actions are becoming much more meaningful because of the unusual context. Take, for instance, some of the following. People gather outside hospitals with signs saying, “Thank you, doctors and nurses!” Cars drive by tooting their horns, making a celebration appreciating the hard, dangerous roles their health workers are fulfilling for them. People in Italy came out on balconies, singing songs together, making music for their neighborhood. While separated by “stay in” orders, they were going out with their voices to enjoy music that connects them all. Residents in nursing facilities where the virus is active and they cannot have visitors, see family and friends appear outside their windows with signs and posters saying “We Love You” or other messages of encouragement. In Philadelphia a restaurant owner, whose tables inside are empty, is making hundreds of meals and distributing them to people who are in need of food assistance in the neighborhood, saying, “I’ll keep it up as long as I can.” A generous store owner has donated free groceries to go to the homes of first responders and health care workers, saying, “It’s not charity. It’s gratitude to those who are taking chances and risking their own health while serving the rest of us!” Dr. Collin Braithwaite, the chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, New York, captivated the internet with his rendition of the Andra Day hit song, 'Rise Up,' to lift spirits of health care workers. Groups of musicians separated by the stay-at-home rules, have released inspiring renditions of songs, free on the internet. In one case, dozens of Catholic recording artists performed “Be Not Afraid” for a great video shared with the whole world online. First responders and health care professionals in several states were greeted at the supermarket checkout with the words, "Your groceries are on Winn-Dixie tonight. Thanks for everything you do, Thanks for being on the front line." Albert Conner, 44, held a sign outside MD Anderson Cancer Center in Sugar Land, Texas, that read, "I can't be with you but I'm here." He could not attend his wife, Kelly Conner's chemotherapy appointment because of restrictions due to the corona virus pandemic, His sign also said, "love you," And included thanks to staff working inside the hospital's walls. There are many more examples of such actions every day. We are inspired hearing about them. Why are they so meaningful? These actions point to something beyond themselves. They show people deliberately working, playing, singing, giving, whatever it is, to connect with other people. We might do some of these things at other times, too, but right now, during the “stay apart” days, we rightly value more highly those things that connect us, We value those connections, because life doesn’t mean much unless we are connected. So many things we bust our buts for, work extra hours to buy or to win, pale in significance when we realize what really matters. The meaning of it all, I think, is that we belong to one another. And when we affirm that fact, in dozens of different ways, life begins to glow with love, joy, and real meaning. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT © 2020 Stanley Hagemeyer

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