For some folks who contract it, the health effects of Covid-19 can be devastating. Likewise, we owe untold gratitude to those on the frontlines, providing care to those who are sick. The health risks and consequences are real.
But another element that is also affecting us is the isolation of this pandemic. It separates those who are ill from those they love. Even those who treat them have to be so encased in protection that it must be hard to tell who is caring for them.
By its nature, Covid-19 is a disease of separation – pulling people apart. And this is not just true for those who contract the disease – it’s true throughout society. Many of the things that have brought us together are now on hold. So much that we took for granted just 2 months ago has seemingly changed overnight – and who knows which of those things will be forever changed?
This pandemic has reminded us how much we need each other. We are not meant to live in isolation. Extrovert, introvert, or “ambivert,” we need others in our lives – people we can be real and raw with.
This was reinforced for me through a recent podcast conversation between Dr. Curt Thompson & Michael John Cusick. There are good insights throughout, such as: Get outside more than once a day. Anxiety is often about the future, but it impacts our present. We think of it as a state of mind, but it manifests itself in the body. If we can simply take a breath, remember who we are, be present – and be present before Christ – it can help change the equation.
But I was especially struck by Thompsons’s insight that not only is Genesis clear that we are not meant to be alone – it’s also that we are most vulnerable when we are alone. Alone physically, yes; but also emotionally, spiritually, relationally.
I need this truth now more than ever. Spending most of my time at home, I’m more aware of the ways that I need others in my life. I’m working on ways to nurture this during a time of “physical distancing,” but talking over Zoom or texting just isn’t that same as being real with someone, in person.
To that end, I wonder how this pandemic will change the Church. Will we find ourselves relying more on technology? Will we, for at least a short time, be limited in our gatherings? I don’t know, but both seem likely.
Even so, in the midst of these changes & challenges, our need for others will not change. We need – I need – real friends I can be real with in the reality that I’m really living.
So, my hope is that, whatever Church ends up looking like post-corona, it will be more real, more raw, more relational – where all of us come out of quarantine and isolation, less concerned with how well we “do Sunday” – and more concerned with how well we “do life” with each other.