Fara Gold McLaughlin

Today we are living in unprecedented times, like the times Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about in his 1985 novel, Love in the Time of Cholera. Marquez describes the challenges of economic disparity and the emerging belief in science and rational thought in the late 1800’s versus the pull of individual passion and romance in the lives of his characters.

While Love in the Time of Cholera is considered a great love story, the backdrop is similar to the current global crisis we are experiencing today. Many of us may want to escape and run away somewhere other than “here.” However, we are asked to pause and remain sequestered and isolated, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. For ourselves and, more importantly, the common good.

What is Love?

Love is a loaded word. Merriam-Webster describes “love” as a noun meaning “. . . strong affection arising out of kinship or personal ties” or as a verb defined as “ . . . to hold dear, to like or desire, to thrive in.” In the Bible’s Old Testament or Jewish Torah in Leviticus 19:18 the commandment given to Moses states, “Love your neighbor like yourself.”

The Apostle Paul named “love” the greatest virtue and said, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.”

Why would “love” be the most prescient noun or verb of our current time in the COVID-19 Pandemic?

While I do not have all the answers, I keep asking this question to help me respond rationally with my mind and lovingly with my heart. Every opportunity in social media, family relationships, community, interpersonal, and transpersonal interactions call us to communicate for the common good. I have gone back to learn and understand my own limited reactions to these volatile current events through rereading Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change in which Covey states, “Love is a verb. Love . . . is . . . our loving actions.”

Stop, Ask, Listen, and Learn

Doing the “right thing” starts with me, us, in our homes, in our primary relationships, with our families, in our greater communities. When we see anger, injustice, hate in whatever form, I now challenge myself and others to stop, ask, listen, and learn. When I can validate the unknown shadow, I judge in another person, through simply saying, “I hear you are angry. I hear you see this situation in this way” I am practicing the validation needed to first heal ourselves and our world.

The COVID-19 Pandemic, our American Presidential campaign, our uncertain economic future, the transformative Black Lives Matter movement reveal longstanding racial inequities for us to see on camera and every media channel. We can react from our limited perspectives or we may enter into the possibility to ask versus tell. Stephen Covey eloquently states, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Also, Covey scribes, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

7.8 billion people in the world today and nearly 300 million in the United States living their lives, seeking to be understood, to be loved, and to understand themselves and the world. A recent Forbes magazine article published June 28th, 2020 titled, “White Supremacy in The Villages? What Trump’s Troubling Tweet Says About America describes an incident and subsequent Presidential tweet amplifying the prejudice. 

The moment captured in a short video does not convey the majority of the residents at The Villages’ perceptions of their own privilege or race. Many residents and senior living leaders are grateful beyond measure for the diversity of devoted caregivers throughout the senior housing sector. There are so many more stories of love, compassion, cooperation, inclusion, and equality within every home, community, The Villages, our Country, and the globe. We have a chance to create a new narrative.

Share the Love in Senior Living

Senior housing leadership is called to this moment to balance the noise of the pandemic and the social unrest with real stories, videos, and photos of everyday courage and love. More importantly, we are called to action to tell these stories loudly from every rooftop, social media platform, email, newsletter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Love is a noun and a verb. Love in action is Love in the Time of COVID-19.