©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

I often started contagions in high school.  But, more about that in a minute.

The contagion Covid-19 is on everyone’s minds, TVs and computer screens these days.  How could it not?  It’s changed our world – at least for the time being – and we’ll experience domino effects for years to come.

While on our school dance and high-kick team, we often used “contagions” in routines.  Those dance moves started with one person, then continued with others who did them in rapid succession.  The sequential action caused a ripple effect from person to person.  If you’ve ever seen the Rockettes, you’ve watched dance synchronization and contagion, and if you’ve even been a part of the “Wave” in a stadium, you’ve participated in a contagion.

Right now, people attach a negative connotation to “contagion” because we’re focusing on the disruption, fear, illness and even death this disease is causing as it moves from person to person.  Closures and cancellations even had their own ripple effect. Did you start to cringe when another email popped in your mailbox?

We can’t change what’s happening, but we can choose our stance in the human interaction chain.  Are we initiating and participating in positive “contagions” or spreading negative ones?  

  • Smiles instead of “woe is me” looks?
  • Uplifting words instead of complaints?
  • Encouragement rather than discouragement?
  • Gratefulness or grumpiness?
  • Giving or hoarding?
  • Faith or fear?
  • Service in place of focus on self?
  • Time used wisely instead of wastefully?

Imagine for a minute we’re side by side in a line holding on to each another (metaphorically) – the ones we love, the ones we interact with online, in church, groups, neighborhoods, communities. Now think about what emotional or spiritual “contagion” you are starting or spreading right now to those next to you, those holding on to you, those further down the line? 

Contagions move.  We move to keep a flow to our hours, days and weeks, and when we choose to spread positive instead of negative, we will create a movement of good. 

What are some ways we can initiate a positive contagion? 

Send funny memes and videos to others.  Laughter is good for us!  Let’s spread it.  Strike the ones with politics or profanity. Some creative works have been muddied by those. Seek and share ones that unite us in laughter, not divide us.

Check out this one from a furloughed British sports commentator doing play-by-play on everyday life.

Share positive ways you’re celebrating special times with family and friends.  Show others a screen-catch or photo or tell us about it. When a friend of mine’s “Frozen” birthday party for her daughter got cancelled, she called on neighbors to help. White Christmas lights and decorations appeared on the lawn, chalk art drawings on driveways, and even “Elsa” showed up in a gown to sing (at a distance). My friend revealed her need; others gave creatively; she and others shared the results on social media; and a TV station broadcast it. Thousands of smiles generated from one neighborhood’s giving actions and pass-it-on efforts!  Try something different and then pass on what happens. 

Develop a phone call contagion for different people to contact an elderly parent or neighbor once a week.  Thankfully, many churches and community groups are doing this, but how wonderful for them to also hear from others who may know their sons and daughters well.

Share Bible verses – the best source of words guiding us to lasting peace. We pass on famous quotes; why not put these in emails, cards, or with photos on social media?  Bible Gateway.com is a great resource to search keywords like comfort, courage and hope and find Bible mentions about them.

Pass on photo memories from good times in the past.  Maybe going through those old photos during this time of clutter clean-up caused you to find some meaningful or fun photos. Bless others by passing them on.

List 5 things for which you’re grateful and ask other friends to share theirs.  A friend of mine shares gratitude lists with others year-round.  Never tried it?  Maybe this is a good time to start.

Create a new neighborhood tradition.  In one friend’s community, neighbors are coming outside at 10 a.m. and saying the Pledge of Allegiance; then in the early evening they bring out chairs six to ten feet apart and enjoy distance socializing.  Other areas are putting up Christmas lights, posting hearts on their doors, or displaying stuffed animals, such as bears, in windows for children to spot.

Post, email or text beach, mountain, woods or garden beauty pictures – either from your own yard, something you’ve experienced, or something you’d like to see.  They remind us of God’s creation and His hand in our world. Share the scenic and serene!  Tour eight beautiful gardens from your home  through this one. 

Forward an uplifting musical creation.  When Nashville studio musicians recently recorded “It is Well with my Soul” individually from their homes and studio artists and technicians blended them, their combined voices touched over one million people in just 24 hours.  Perhaps it continues with you?

A specific action, photo or video doesn’t have to go “viral” or be “shared” multiple times to ignite an idea or encourage others to do good. Contagions may plant a seed from which another’s optimism blooms.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Titus 2:7a NIV

Your spark of positivity and goodness may tickle an idea in someone’s mind that brings forth another encouraging gesture.  Negativity shared may feed on a person’s already building anxiety and fear.

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. James 3:5 NIV

Our words, as well as photos and videos we share, have power in them.  Will they be used for growing or destroying?

The love, joy and peace God offers us today in the midst of Covid-19 is just as abundant and available as it has even been. Sadly, many don’t have an understanding of Christ, His sacrifice, grace and mercy, and the salvation and true freedom we can find in Him. We can share the good news!

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

Now that’s a heart-touching contagion of the life-changing kind!

  • How have you been touched by an uplifting photo, video or musical work this week?
  • What or who has negatively impacted your mood this week?  Identify how you can avoid that spiral and replace it with positive emotions.
  • In what ways have you shared good words and works with others since Covid-19 hit?
  • What positive “contagion” can you start this week?

 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you…May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.  2 Thessalonians 3:1,5 NIV

Remember…Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


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