“Mom, I’m bored!” This is a cry most of us dread hearing. But during quarantine, this call from my daughter rang as a joyful bell in my ears.
Like many family members “stuck” together during the pandemic, my daughter and I bonded more closely during quarantine than ever before. Her call of boredom stirred up creative ideas in me. I asked her if she’d like to bake something sweet, craft new creations out of clay or paint, or organize a closet. Most of the time, she’d say “yes” to take a break from television or her phone.
We often worked side by side on these projects, and we both benefited from them. She motivated me to be more organized with my stuff and less grouchy when interrupted in my work. I motivated her to turn time and talents into blessings for others, often in the form of cakes or cookies. Both of us grew closer through conversation as we shared our thoughts and feelings more often.
Now my daughter is back in school, and I’m back in the rhythm of my routines. But I want the unique bond we developed during quarantine to last no matter what.
While this may not be the case for all families, being at home together was a hidden blessing for my daughter and I. Our relationship flourished without much effort. Yet it will take intentional work to keep our relationship nurtured in the future. If I get caught up in my routines now, I may miss the hidden blessing quarantine revealed for my relationships.
As I mulled over this thought recently, I came across Hebrews 10:24-25, where God inspired the writer of Hebrews to include these directives to members of the early Church:
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
God knows our human tendency is to stop meeting together, to isolate ourselves unnecessarily. He knew if members of the early Church neglected regular, in-person meetings, they would miss out on mutual encouragement and motivation.
Our God is personal. He often ministers to us through our relationships, encouraging and motivating us through others. While we can encourage others from afar, there is nothing like encouraging someone face to face in what they’re going through right now. Conversely, there’s nothing like being encouraged by someone right in front of you! We were designed to meet together, as often as possible, to both give and receive blessings. Even in seasons when we can’t always meet in-person, like during a global pandemic, we can find ways to “not neglect our meeting together” with fellow believers and build strong communities of faith.
Whether your relationships flourished or your loneliness deepened during quarantine, you can both give and receive encouragement by meeting together with others in safe and God-honoring ways.
Father God, thank you for the gift of relationships. I don’t want to neglect meeting with others, but I want to experience the blessings of giving and receiving in relationships. Show me one person who needs my love, good works and encouragement. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
At First Lutheran, we are a community of disciples of Jesus Christ working for the transformation of the world. Throughout our history, we have remained committed to drawing on our Lutheran (ELCA) tradition of using meaningful worship, content-rich learning and warm hospitality to care well for our congregation, the surrounding community and the world.