What do you miss during social distancing?
I miss hugs. Concerts. Attending church. Sharing a birthday cake. Being there in person to feel someone’s joy or pain or struggle.
I miss Singo, a sing-along version of bingo. During Singo, nobody cares about political labels, age groups or religious affiliation. Everyone sings familiar lyrics together, and strangers get up and dance with one another.
Everyone just enjoys each other’s company.
All those activities are on hold as we try to contain the spread of a virus that leaves death and battered bodies in its wake. When the time comes that we can safely be social again, I hope we’ll do it with a renewed appreciation for each other.
I hope the pandemic has taught us how much we need one another.
We needed that lesson. We’ve become so divided that we’ve forgotten we’re intimately bound to one another.
As the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., put it, we’re all “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” Mother Teresa said that “if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”
How did we forget that? How did we lose the pleasure and peace of each other’s loving company?
Perhaps a confluence of factors is responsible for fraying our common fabric.
Our culture worships individuality, the myth of the self-made man who pulls himself up by his bootstraps without anyone’s assistance at all. It’s all about me and my rights.
The Americanized version of Christianity promotes this self-centeredness, too. The prosperity gospel preaches self-absorption. Pad your personal accounts – financial as well as spiritual – while telling those bleeding by the side of the road to work harder.
We’ve got political, social and religious leaders trying to sell us the bitter pill of division as well. They want us to quarantine within political, social and theological bubbles, pushing away everyone who is different.
They frame it as us-against-them and promote nonstop political, cultural and religious wars against anyone not inside our bubble.
No! They’re selling a lie. The last three months have reminded us how much we need to stop the fighting and start reconnecting with one another.
Those connections are what we miss.
God made us as social beings. We’re hard-wired to be together and have relationship with God, with all God’s children, and with all God’s creation. Those artificial divisions deprive us of what we need most.
Hopefully that’s the pandemic’s lesson for when the time comes that we can safely come together again as extended human family.
We need one another.
(photo by Lisa Fotios @pexels.com)