Recently I had a conversation with someone from church. This person remarked that so many families in our ward were struggling with the pressures of life under Covid. I responded, yes, it’s been hard for our family too. This person was shocked. “Your family is having a hard time with all of this?” Um, yes we are?!?! Everyone is. “But you guys are so strong!” Maybe we’re strong, and maybe we’re not, but we’re just really good at putting our party face on and not spilling our beans all over social media (because let’s face it, your social feeds are already too dramatic and you don’t want my drama too). But yes, our family has had its problems over this Covid year, and I have often thought sometimes “the one” is hiding right there in the middle of the ninety-and-nine.
The other day I ran into an old friend in the grocery store, whom I had not seen since before Covid started. She reached out and grabbed me and just hugged me tight. Normally, I’m not a hugger. I don’t even like hugging family or close friends. But this was different. I realized in that embrace how much I have missed people — and this is a lot coming from me, as I’m usually fine to do things on my own. I miss people, in person. Of course I’m thankful for the technology that let me get my temple recommend renewed from the comfort of my living room and I’m thankful we have the vast Church media network that has allowed us to stay connected to our leadership. I’m even thankful for social media, as horrid as it can be sometimes, that lets us keep in contact with each other. But I miss seeing faces, hearing belly laughs, and reaching out to grab on to people.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared these thoughts in his April 2021 General Conference talk:
“We are, however, facing a kind of Third World War that is not a fight to crush our enemies but a conscription marshaling the children of God to care more about each other and to help heal the wounds we find in a conflicted world. The Great Depression we now face has less to do with the external loss of our savings and more to do with the internal loss of our self-confidence, with real deficits of faith and hope and charity all around us. But the instruments we need to create a brighter day and grow an economy of genuine goodness in society are abundantly provided for in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot afford—and this world cannot afford—our failure to put these gospel concepts and fortifying covenants to full use personally and publicly.”
Loss of self-confidence
Deficits of faith, hope, and charity.
Those are serious things. What do we do about that? What have I done?
I’ve started calling people on the phone to talk. In our instant message, texting world, I’ve found that people really appreciate the calls, and like to talk. Last year after my Mom passed away, an old college friend of mine, who lived in my Mom’s ward began to call me every few weeks. Her calls really helped in as I was alone in my grief. We didn’t talk about anything heavy, she just shared with me the comings and goings of the ward (this is the ward I grew up in), of my hometown, and her family. I have cherished those calls. I’ve also started to just go to people’s houses and talk to them in their driveways or on their front porch to their comfort levels. Face to face conversation does wonders for the mental health of everyone.I encourage you to reach out to your friends, neighbors, your ministering families and try and find meaningful ways to interact with them.
Like the old phone commercials used to say, “Reach out and touch someone!”, because even “the strong” people need interaction and connection with you.