BY ALI JO MEIER
We are living in a time that has become strict about following guidelines. We know that we need to stay 6 feet apart, wear our masks, and wash our hands. I am a rule follower and the people who know me best know that I get very anxious when I see the rules being broken. COVID-19 has created a time where I trust that rules are put in place to help protect us. It has certainly caused a lot of frustration in people and there is some level of resistance depending on who you talk to. There are restrictions everywhere and it can feel a bit overwhelming to function each day within such limitations. Seems like we have to say “no” more often than we like to. Canceling vacations, staying inside, missed celebrations, just to name a few. It’s all heavy, and it starts to weigh us down!
I do try to remember that there are good things still happening everywhere, and God is still moving and redeeming as He promises. In fact, even in a world covered in restrictions, there are certain things in life that God’s word says we can never have too much of. Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.” I still see particular fruits growing and blooming everywhere, especially right now in my work.
In my role as a Family Life Coach with Catholic Charities, I have been supporting families who are reaching out for rent assistance because their lives have been significantly impacted financially due to COVID. In this process, I frequently talk with landlords and property managers who are in a tough place: Do they trust that their tenants will make their late payments, or do they need to go ahead and start the eviction process? When I call a landlord or property manager to let them know their tenant reached out to our agency for rent help and we are considering their application, I have been blown away by the fruit presented back to me. These landlords/property managers are people who are filled with fruits of the Spirit; particularly joy, patience, kindness, and goodness. Often, they advocate to me on behalf of their tenants because they care so deeply for them and don’t want to lose them. When discussing their unique and individual situations, I have talked with landlords/property managers who sometimes get emotional over the COVID reality and what it is doing to the families that rent their properties. When a family meets our criteria for rent assistance, all documents are finalized. Checks are requested (shout-out to our incredible Finance team who are processing an unbelievable number of checks right now to help get rent paid!). I call the landlord/property manager back to let them know a check will be coming, I am regularly met with deep gratitude and kindness. They are just so thankful for the relief that our agency can provide to support the families that rent from them. It usually causes me to pause and reflect…this job is tough right now and while we are unable to help everyone, the kindness that comes from the families and landlords/property managers that we can help is hard to describe. The joy and relief they share with us really is beautiful.
Even though restrictions are important right now to stop the spread of COVID…I would like to believe that we all have room to bear more fruit. Even on the hardest days, I get a front-row seat to watch God working through people and restoring hope. At the end of the day, we are all human and we are all impacted by what is happening around us because of COVID. It is easy to grumble and complain right now, especially with limited resources, but instead let’s choose to spread love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control…we will never run out of those and there is always room for more!
Ali Jo Meier was a Life Coach with Catholic Charities Family Connections program providing help and hope to families in need. She worked with struggling families every day to help them find the resources they need to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
To learn more about Family Connections, click here.