I was thinking back some decades ago when we experienced some hard good-byes with family who were overseas for years at a time. I remember the long hugs, the tearful so-longs, the promises of letters to be written and sent. Even in the 80’s and 90’s most of our connection was through correspondence, which could take up to two months to arrive.
And those connections were priceless. We made the best of things. Telephone calls were for emergencies only and were difficult connections at best. We were connected at the heart, but very far apart physically. I learned to trust that God was with my family, even though I was very far away.
Today, through this pandemic, we are all feeling disconnected from those we love. It is simply weird. I have remained very thankful for the gift of technology that we can feel very close even though we can’t give that hug, go over for dinner, shake hands. We are doing the right thing, even though it is not natural or normal.
Yesterday, I was more than delighted when my daughter asked me if I would do some art with my grandchildren. Over Facetime of course, and I quickly made a plan, set up my supplies and found out what supplies they had. And then we drew and painted – together! – even though we were apart. It brought joy to my soul.
So how can we stay connected? I’ve seen so many creative ways, on the news, on social media. One little guy had a birthday, and his mother arranged a parade of cars with birthday signs to drive by. He felt very special indeed! We saw another mother and daughter (from a distance) creating positive messages through words and pictures on the sidewalk for all who walked by. This week I attended three meetings – one a prayer-time with some church family, another a meeting at the hospital over the phone, another with my family over Zoom. We are staying connected.
I do think about our elders. Those who are lonely and vulnerable and isolated, and some of them don’t understand. This breaks my heart, and we can’t thank enough the staff at care homes who are trying to fill the gap as they also have a lot of care duties. I pray for them. One idea we had this week was to send e-mails to staff, with pictures and messages for them. If we are able we can use the phone. I’ve seen beautiful stories of families and even strangers performing music outside windows and in courtyards to encourage and uplift. These are all beautiful connections.
We are connected globally, even though we are apart. We are part of the human race, part of God’s creation. I believe we are valuing this more than ever and realizing what was most important, after all. It isn’t the stuff we have, or our status, but the love we share as we care for one another.
It is my hope and prayer that you feel connected today. If you are lonely, reach out and phone someone. We all are part of care for each other in these times where we are physically apart. A great big virtual hug comes with this post, from me to you.