Restoration member Sheryl Belson talks about the creative ways she’s maintained friendships while practicing physical distance.
Wait! How can I say that in today’s environment!? Every piece of news online, on the radio, on television ALL says we MUST practice social distancing. We should practice physical distancing, not social distancing.
For the last 10 years, Maynard and I have hosted a study group called Dinner and Discipleship, a.k.a. D&D, in our home. We meet every Wednesday night for about 12 weeks at a time to eat and discuss a study topic. At the end of each study we take a break for about 12 weeks and periodically meet casually for dinner until we start our next study. As you might imagine, some people have come and gone from our group of 16 during those 10 years, but some of us have been together the entire time. Relationships run deep. When this COVID-19 issue came up and we had to stop gathering in person, we weren’t satisfied to just stop meeting. We had our very first virtual meeting on March 18 and what an incredible blessing it was!
Our group has studied so many things over the past 10 years. Our studies have ranged from theological doctrines to books of the Bible to spiritual disciplines and more. We are currently using John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping, to guide our discussion. We had no idea just how timely it would be when we voted it in last summer. We are being reminded that God is in control of ALL the things and that fully putting our trust anywhere (medicine, money, etc.) other than Him is foolhardy. On Wednesday night we shared our fears and encouraged each other. Some shared fears for the kids working in the medical sector or other places that demanded they get out and go to work. Some shared their fears that their 401K would dwindle faster than it could sustain to continue to pay their bills through the duration of their retirement. One group member joined us from Peru where she and her daughter are currently stranded due to COVID-19 border closings. What a blessing it was to share these concerns and promise to pray for each other during the week! And what a blessing it was to dive into our discussion reminding each other that God’s Word teaches us of His sovereignty, His goodness and that this virus has not surprised Him no matter how much it has surprised us. In isolation, without the social connection with this group that night, many of us would be struggling much more deeply with facing the circumstances our world has to offer in these COVID-19 days.
Today I am thanking God for the technology He has allowed in our world. I am using Facetime, texting and phone calls to connect with family members and close friends; Zoom video conferencing to connect with our D&D group as well as my TIE group and Facebook messenger to connect with some friends on the other side of the globe. I even made a list of people I wanted to check in with and have it in a prominent place to remind me to reach out and connect, to shrink the distance that can press in so significantly when we are faced with this unprecedented quarantine isolation.
Practice PHYSICAL distancing, not SOCIAL distancing.
This is how I am choosing to do life these days. God created us in and for community. Let’s distance ourselves physically but reach out in new ways to remain connected socially so we can encourage, uphold and pray for each other through this current storm.