Love in the time of..

In muddy colors and broken smiles, love is all around us.

Young children soaping their hands, counting up to 20 with careful concentration. They sneeze into their elbows and rush to use hand sanitizer. Barely old enough to ride a bike. Barely old enough to tie their shoes. But they care with their bright eyes and enormous hearts. Cherish this kindness, won’t you? This is their love.

Neighbors offering to pick up prescriptions. Groceries and  diapers. Talking over fences, six feet of safety between. “Good morning dear”, “Good evening dear.” “Don’t worry, we’ll get through this,” and “Want to borrow something?” Social distancing, but a sense of togetherness. Hug them in your minds, because this is their love.

Nurses and doctors pulling double shifts at the hospital. Hands pink and raw after a thousand times at the sink. With every fresh face, there is a new risk. Yet they soldier on with soft voices, hoping to heal. This is their journey, and this is their love.

Online fingers typing away. Sending wishes and prayers, strength and courage. Quick recipes and peppy books, ten ways to make some hand sanitizer. They talk and they write, keeping you sane. Another day inside, another day safe. Be thankful for these strangers on the other side of your screen. Honor their kindness and remember their love.

Firemen and police, our armies and navies. Leaving behind families who love them as much as ours do. Guarding us from madness, from despair and ourselves. Let’s think of them when we sleep, let’s think of their love.

Teachers with their emails. Their lists, their plans. A hundred unique resources, color coded into our inboxes. Hours drawing up schedules, sharing apps and activities. Even from their homes, they worry about our children. Show your child these emails and help them connect. “Thank you teacher, I miss your love.”

Garbage, food delivery, transport, utilities. The men and women who keep these wheels turning. They go home every day, hoping they aren’t sick. From that customer sneezing. Coughing, talking near them. But come next morning, they’re back at work again. Thank them and tip them, because this is their love.

We sit in our homes, in our bubbles of fear. We worry for a world that may never be the same. But big things are happening- magical things, even. Friendships born across screens; fingers splayed in heart shapes. See, us humans are horrible, but us humans are wonderful.Connected in our hearts, so deep in our souls, We’re tired and terrified, but still bonded by love.

Breath held in tight, and with glinting eyes, someday an old man will murmur to his grandchild. “I was lonely, so blue and she sent me a hug. A beep from the phone, while I was cooking dinner. Her pixels on my screen, fragrant hope for tomorrow. A tiny kindness, but it meant the world. Sweet grandchild, there was a terrible pandemic in 2020. But I met your grandma, and she taught me to love.”

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