Loving our neighbors in the midst of COVID-19
by Dolly Neeld
How do we respond when an ambulance pulls up across the street and wheels out your elderly neighbor’s husband on a stretcher? I’m usually the last person to jump in since my stomach pretty much wimps out during any health crisis. Especially now. Not only has the coronavirus impacted all of us, but people are dying of old age! I wondered at that moment if I should help them.
I waited until the ambulance left, as did a few other neighbors. My adrenaline kicked in, and I asked the EMT if the wife needed help. I learned that her husband had a stroke and sadly died just hours later.
Three weeks after his death, I received a text that I thought was a mistake. Another neighbor messaged me if I could pray for her because her husband suddenly died of a heart attack that morning.What was happening? I thought. It’s just crazy that two deaths unrelated to the coronavirus happened on the same street. My family decided to step back, pause, and reflect on this. We prayed for the wives who were left behind and even wondered what we would do if it happened to us?
We didn’t know these two families super well, but we did see them and feel for their loss. We brought them food and shared in their grief. One widow felt comfortable enough to ask us to help her when the funeral director came.
I felt like I was unable to carry the load or stomach talking about someone’s funeral plans. I reached out to a neighbor for help, and we saw God intervene. He let me handle just what I could alongside my husband and our sons.
Sharing a prayer request seemed like a good idea during our Sunday online service so that we wouldn’t be alone in our experience. The church quickly responded— Pastor Mark, then Pastor Chuck, then Robin, then Scott.
A simple prayer request for our street during this time became a sounding board for Orangewood to reach out and help us. Orangewood reminded us that God is here, even on our street. Joy even returned as our sons Thomas and Will shared their gift of laughter. Both neighbors enjoy the boys’ active lifestyles, smiles, and energy.
We’re so thankful to Orangewood for helping us help others! God put us here to help, and we’re glad to be here. He is our strength, our Father, our comfort.
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