It’s at times like this when things look dark, and we fear they’re about to get a whole lot darker, that we look for ways to show that we haven’t lost hope.
“Let There Be Light” is one of those opportunities.
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Fresno, and at 7 p.m. in time zones across the nation and around the world, people will set out a candle, a lantern, or a luminaria on their porch or front walk.
The small light is meant to signal our thanks and support for the health care workers and first responders who are the soldiers on the front line in the war against the novel coronavirus.
You may have a relative, a friend, a neighbor, who is a healthcare worker or a first-responder. Unlike many of us, they can’t work at home or shelter in place. They are among the most essential of the essential workers.
And, with the continued rise in the number of COVID-19 patients here, and many more to come, they worry: Will there be enough masks, gowns, and gloves to protect me from becoming infected? If I get sick, will I infect my loved ones? And will there be enough ventilators, enough hospital beds, enough staff, to take care of my patients?
Anxiety Levels Keep Growing
Some are already wracked by anxiety after seeing what health care workers have been dealing with in China, Italy, Spain, New York City, and Washington state. They know that it’s a matter not of if, but when, they could be in similar crises.
They hope that instead of a tsunami of very sick patients, they will face more manageable waves. (Remember, we can do our parts to help flatten those waves by staying home.)
Knowing that we’re thinking about them, that we care about them, and are praying for them, provides some comfort for our health care workers and first responders, and for their families, says John Chorney, parks and facilities foreman in Westmont, Illinois.
He’s got firsthand knowledge — his family includes two daughters-in-law who work in hospitals and nieces and nephews who are first-responders and nurses. The only way he can visit his elderly mother these days is by waving at her from his car in the parking lot of her nursing home.
Event Needed Sharing
Chorney created the “Let There Be Light” Facebook group after he spotted an event with the same name on a Facebook posting last Friday evening.
“So if you look at the bottom of the blue page or so forth that says ‘Let There Be Light 4.1,’ there is like an Instagram picture. So I went on Instagram. But first I asked my daughter what Instagram was. You know what I mean? I’m 55. I don’t have Instagram or so forth.”
He saw that the Instagram post had just 200 views and six followers and thought, more people need to know about this.
Facebook Group Goes Viral
While someone else may have lit the original candle, Chorney has provided the accelerant. The Facebook group, which he created late Friday, numbered more than 80,000 members worldwide as of midday Tuesday, with about 1,000 new members joining hourly from all over the globe.
Through the group, they’ve learned about Wednesday’s Let There Be Light” event, Chorney said. But the group also has become a place where they can share their concerns, their anxieties, and their heartbreak.
He’s hoping the group will continue after Wednesday’s event as a forum for people to share their messages of hope and inspiration —and their prayers.
“Keep a light in your front window on, do the luminaries if you care to continue doing them or so forth. This is just one night that I think we can unite as a world or a country or as whoever feels that they’re a part of us and wants to be a part of it,” he said. “I think that it’s one time to show how united we all can be as a human race.”
Spreading The Word
It’s a message that is resonating with many who have shared news of the event on social media like Facebook and Next Door.
One northwest Fresno woman posted on her neighborhood’s Next Door app that she plans to put out a lantern in support of her daughter, a nurse. Prayers and candles are all well and good, the mom says, but health care workers would be glad to trade all that “for staying at home & stopping the spread.”