This past week, my grandmother and her best friend both stayed home from church. They ate all their meals at home. My grandmother drove by the library to return the five novels she read last week. They were closed, which, I told her, was for the best. “You never know who touched those books last,” I said. She agreed, although I knew she was sad that she couldn’t get anything new to read. She lives alone and already spends a lot of her time feeling lonely.
My grandmother is one of the millions of people who are especially susceptible to the coronavirus, and more likely to die from it if they contract it. You probably know someone in that group as well–someone with a compromised immune system, or an underlying condition, or someone over 65. When you’re a healthy 34-year-old, as I am, the threat of the coronavirus can seem distant, just like the threat of death (though recent research suggests young people may be at higher risk than previously understood). And when you live in a culture that values individualism and productivity, as ours does, it can be disorienting to be told that you can no longer get things done the way you used to. But if I want to love my neighbors, it is my responsibility to do whatever I can–even the things that inconvenience me–to prolong the lives of others.