A note from Life Launch Program Manager, OKC, Becky Corbin
These are strange days.
Today is my tenth day spent alone in my home without the possibility of an impulsive Target trip or pilgrimage to my favorite coffee shop. In response to the threat of COVID-19, necessary changes to our communities have been made to limit the spread from social contact, and as a result, most of our interpersonal interactions have been limited to what can be done through a screen. The things we take for granted are being exposed as either nonessential, like my grocery store wanderings, or absolutely necessary for our wellbeing.
Many people are experiencing the pains of loneliness and a lack of necessary resources for the first time, which are some of the daily realities of young adults aging out of foster care, women transitioning out of incarceration, and widows experiencing the loss of their partner.
Isolation is often a pattern in the lives of those we serve, and in the times of COVID-19, it has become a common ground for all people.
Through my position as Program Manager for Life Launch in Oklahoma City, I have the privilege of spending my quarantine checking in on single mothers who cannot return to work because their childcare is suspended, encouraging students being forced out of their university housing and on-campus employment, and listening to the concerns of mentors facing limited work hours and preexisting health conditions. These interactions serve as humbling reminders that no one is exempt from the vulnerabilities and limitations of being human.
As an organization built upon a belief in the necessity of relationships, our staff have had to use our own time of isolation to consider how we will continue to meet the needs of our neighbors, use wisdom in caring for all involved, and lean in with a new urgency.
While face-to-face meetings have been suspended, the core of our work has not been lost. The means by which we interact, support, build trust, and even love our neighbor may look different, but we choose to see this as an opportunity to build enduring relationships through inventive communication and purposeful connections.
The value of a text message, email, phone call, FaceTime date, or handwritten letter have never been higher.
Through these points of connection, relationships can continue and endure through social distancing and indefinite days of physical separation.
Ultimately, our mission and purpose have not and will not change. The coming days may highlight the necessity of relational work as many in our communities suffer the effects of isolation. We pray these experiences soften many hearts to those living with the realities of social isolation and marginalization, and open doors for the grace of Emmanuel—God with us—in times of loneliness and fear.
From my screen and living room to yours—thank you for the work you are doing to stay connected and serve the isolated.
Wishing you peace, health, and hope,
A virtual Life Launch meeting between Alicia Keathley, Tulsa Program Manager (top), TJ Warren, Program Director (middle), and Becky Corbin, Oklahoma City Program Manager (bottom).