The current pandemic and the emphasis on Social distancing is affecting everybody. In some cases, people panic. When people panic, sometimes they do things they wouldn't do under normal circumstances. Just a look at the shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies gives you an idea how people are feeling. The fear comes from the uncertainty in the times we live.
Committee and Board meetings, business and non profit have moved (or are moving) online; to zoom and other popular platforms - all in order to comply with the social distancing directives from health and government officials. One side effect of social distancing, however, is the loss of immediacy in the relationships. When we meet with somebody in the street or in the organization during normal times, we do not plan our reactions. When we prepare for Zoom, we do.
One of the risks of social distancing is the risk of seeing the other more as a resource and less as a person. It is easier to think about others as prescindible or supernumerary when we don't face them every day. The other becomes a collection of pixels on the screen or a voice on the phone - and that is where the risk lies.
As we go through this nightmare called COVID-19, we tend to forget that there will be a morning after, when business will resume normally and where the very same people from whom we are distancing now will be around. That is why when we talk about the current situation we need to make an extra effort to remember that physically or virtually present, people are still important.
And as it goes in business, so goes (double) in community. As some congregations and organizations go to virtual meetings and services, and others shut down temporarily, we need to remember that community is all about each other. Albert Einstein (a smart guy beyond Physics as well) once said: "What an extraordinary situation is that of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he feels it. But from the point of view of daily life, without going deeper, we exist for our fellowmen "
And when the emergency passes - and it WILL pass - we will resume our normal lives. In the meantime, STAY CONNECTED. Call your family, your friends, your neighbors, your fellow congregants, call all the people who give meaning to your life in normal times; they can help you today. At the end of the tunnel, we will all still be together; let us preserve our community through the darkness so we can enjoy it in full again when light comes back.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected.