October 2, 2020

Finding joy on a balcony

Written by  Lucy* | April 2020
Neighborhood views from Lucy’s* rooftop. Photo by the author. Neighborhood views from Lucy’s* rooftop. Photo by the author.

Our COVID-19 measures have been called some of the strictest in the world. Though sometimes at first glance our city looks lifeless, it is anything but. Life has just moved to the roof.

From our balcony, I see a family making a bonfire in a metal barrel, boys on three different roofs flying kites, a father kicking a soccer ball with his two daughters, and a group of men talking. It is like a living I-Spy book. There is a man praying on his prayer rug. We talk to our neighbors from balcony to balcony and open window to open window.

My neighbor plays the national anthem on her trombone and everyone stops, listens, and cheers. Then they, of course, ask for more. Our upstairs neighbor calls down and asks to play “Happy Birthday” because it is her brother’s birthday today. She rounds it out with the “Star Wars” main theme which is a crowd favorite as well. Unfortunately, our landlord has put in our lease that we are not allowed on the roof (which leads to many conspiracy theories as to what is actually on our roof.)

I’m amazed at the range of human resilience I see from my perch on the balcony. I’m amazed at the way the Father has made humans to deal with life’s circumstances. The way people are creative with entertainment, their space, and their resources. I’m amazed at the creative ways people find community when we are not allowed to leave our homes. Seeing two boys working together to fly a kite just does something for my soul. That beauty in humankind reflects the Heavenly Father who made them, and that beauty is what is sustaining me right now.

On Sunday, we are going into week four of lockdown of our country. The measures are working well, as we are just over 300 cases nationally. I am continuing classes online three hours a day with my favorite teacher. She is challenging but we just work really well together. I’ve had disappointments as we all have during this time. I miss the refugee families I visit, and I was supposed to have visitors this week from the U.S. By God’s grace, I’m doing well and thankful for my housemate and my neighbors who have kept loneliness at bay. 

*Names changed due to sensitivity concerns.

This article appears in the Sept/Oct 2020 issue of Missionary MessengerSign up to receive more inspiring stories like this one in our magazine.

Published in Articles, Worker stories