“Stay-at-home” in our area has had a revolutionary impact in only a few days. We live in the same neighborhood as one of our church members. He’s walked past my house a few times, and each time this week, I happened to be on the phone. Apparently, my front porch has become my “new office” as he put it.

It’s not just the front porch we’ve rediscovered. It’s the back yard and brush needing to be cleaned up. It’s sorting and organizing the garage. It’s kitchen cabinets in need of some tlc. These chores that are sometimes hard to get around to because of scurrying schedules have reminded me that we can easily put them off until later. Sometimes though, we realize we’ve put them off too long.

The lessons in these chores against the backdrop of the “stay-at-home” order has also revealed an even more important truth. We’ve got to connect with our family intentionally. The past few weeks have been marked by a number of reengagements with my wife and son. Card games. Board games. Movies. Walks together. Cuddles. Fishing. Laughter. Joy.

Our closeness has also exposed some of our buttons we sometimes push (or get pushed). Our presence with each other almost constantly means we get each other’s best moments and prickly moments. Marriage and parenting always have their challenges, but when you mix in A LOT more time with each other along with the uneasiness and anxieties this season has birthed, it’s a recipe for some interesting “moments.”

While I’m sure Peter didn’t have my home in the midst of this virus outbreak in mind, his words have been sweet balm and a helpful corrective:

8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ESV‬‬)

Those words must start with our family. The truth is, I desperately need my family. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for them. Many are cut off from grandchildren or children or even spouses because of all the social distancing restrictions or certain careers that force separation. On an even more serious note, some are cut off from loved ones because they are sick. Close hospitality cannot be accomplished right now with many, which makes it all the more important that we get those expectations right with those under our roof.

Those words also press the importance of the “now.” Peter says, “Keep loving one another earnestly.” Earnestly pleads for a zealous effort. A press upon the immediate. In this season where our peace of mind about our health is so fragile, we better be loving those we are living with “earnestly.”We are well right now. I’m going to praise Jesus for that gift! I’m also going to try to live with my wife and son in such a way I don’t take it for granted.

Furthermore, he gives instruction for those interesting “moments.” Love covers our sins and an earnest love helps us ward off grumbling. My guess is, your home has had its share of tensions, complaints, or outbursts. In Jesus, we’ve been given the power of God in us to teach us to bite our tongues, extend generous grace, and reset our emotions before we pop off in unfair or unkind ways at those we love the most.

While you may not be able to be with all those you would like to connect with, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay in touch. Make a call. Send a text. FaceTime with a friend. Zoom with your Bible study group. Send an email, or go really old school by writing a letter. Check on a neighbor. And while you do, be sure not to miss those right in front of you.

You see, I’m I’m bound to my family. I’m one flesh with Diana. Joseph is our child. We are linked at the hip. We are in each other’s personal space. We are close. Extremely close. I’ve got to be connected to them.

So, are you connecting? It’s important. Especially right now.

4 Comments

  1. Your words are so very true and all though we are retired and been in each other’s space for awhile this is totally different. We could always before go do other things visit or just take a break, but now we can’t be that liberal with our time. If we aren’t together in “peace” and harmony we can make each other miserable and that definitely is not any good since togetherness is how it is going to be for awhile.
    It is so great to hear from dear friends that we don’t stay in as close contact with as we do now and to check on others as we know we should but just don’t take the time. Maybe when this to has passed we will continue reaching out to each other and pray and thank God for our families and dear friends as we are now.
    I remember after 911 people became more aware of just what happened and how much worse it could have been and “seemed “ to love and care more about each other, but it soon faded away, maybe this will make a more lasting impression and last longer.
    Thank you Robert for all you do and have done and I thank God for the great pleasure of knowing you and your wonderful family and that He keeps you all healthy and safe through all this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert, what you wrote is spot on. Even in the middle of this crisis, we have an obligation to try to stay connected as much as possible. As I typed that, I had a picture of two prisoners of war kept in different cells, each tapping with their metal cups words of encouragement to their friend on the other side of a concrete wall. Whatever it takes, right?

    That being said, the whole reason I stopped by was to encourage you. I don’t know what it’s been like for you, but His grace is sufficient and no situation is a surprise to the One who stands outside the realm of time.

    What you are doing is a wonderful ministry. All Christian bloggers should encourage each other to keep doing what they are doing. Even before the world went online with worship services and preaching, we were here doing our thing 🙂

    Be safe, brother. Stay well. And don’t grow weary in doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

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