Social distancing has separated many of us from our loved ones, especially friends and family we are used to seeing several times each week. Our new normal includes language like, “who’s sheltering in with you?” While the number of people we are sheltering with may be few, we don’t have to isolated from those we love.
One of the Gen Z members of my husbands family helped me to see this. (iGen, Gen Z, Centennials, I hate all these designations so why didn’t I just say teenager.) She took it upon herself to plan a virtual family reunion. She started by contacting as many family members as she could through her grandfather’s siblings and cousins on Facebook. Using these family members and a number of other social media platforms, she was able to get the word out that we would all meet together on Zoom (a webinar, video conferencing platform) on Palm Sunday at a certain time eastern standard time.
Although we were all separated by time and space, we were united together as a family of many generations. One of the oldest members of the family shared a song with us. Another member shared a prayer. Several members shared updates on their households, and we all took turns greeting members of the family that we had not seen in a long time (even before the Corona-virus pandemic). There was laughter and tears, scriptures and jokes, singing and banter. We were from all over the country: California, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, New York, Texas; there was also some family members on the video chat from England. Separated but not divided.
Last week my grandson let me know he was going to Face-time me on Wednesday at a certain time. I knew he had wanted to talk to his father, my son, but had been missing him because of his work schedule among other things. I was able to surprise my grandson by having his father on the line when he called. (That was a living in joy moment! See last week’s blog for more about living in joy.) My grandson was so surprised and happy, as was my son. Again, separated but not divided.
One of my dearest friends in North Carolina contacted me with an Easter greeting by text. I didn’t know she had my number. It has been four or five years since we visited one another. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise to hear form her and her family, and to know they were all doing well in the midst of the pandemic.
My oldest son sent me some beauty lake side pictures by text this morning. I got a chance to see what he was seeing while he is traveling for his job. He knows how much I love being near the water so it made him think of me. (I love oceans, lakes, and rivers; I can’t wait to travel again!) I haven’t seen him for several weeks now which is very unusual, but we remain close through phone calls, texts, and pictures. The love we share on a spiritual plain will never let us be truly separated.
Try something new if you are not techno savvy. Call one of those young people in your family and have them walk you through it. They are probably bored anyway and will be glad to help. If you are old school like my mom who still has a land line, use call forwarding or call waiting to hook up with your people. (My granddaughter informs me that hook up means something different these days, but you can’t do that through the phone, so you know what I mean.)
Don’t allow sheltering in to cause division between you and the people you care about. Use whatever means necessary to maintain contact and connection. Use this time of social distancing to reconnect with someone who has been on your mind, especially if you know they are by themselves. Don’t let them be alone.
We may be separated, but we don’t have to be divided. Stay safe. Stay connected.