Self-isolation a few weeks in

Photo by Mélissa Jeanty on Unsplash

It seems like forever when we went out to eat at Jim&Nick’s on a Sunday evening back in early March. We sat outside on the patio. They were struggling with staffing since students at the university had gone home for spring break, but would not be returning. Restaurants were open, but cleaning like fiends. The manager stopped by to visit at the table as we at in the mild spring air. (I know it was technically winter still, but down here in the southern USA the warm spring breezes don’t wait on the Spring equinox to take up residence.)

Now, I don’t go out much. JP goes to the grocery. I do go walking and I ventured out to the local farmer’s market which is like the grocery store. But I took one of my masks, I took the hand sanitizer and I stayed what I hope was an appropriate distance from the few other customers. I ventured into the garden area at Lowes also wearing a mask.

I despise wearing a mask. It’s uncomfortable and I know they have many leaks because I wear glasses and believe me, you know when your breath escapes upwards. I’ve made 11 masks so far. We’ve done the driving to pickup and deliver for the local mask makers. I appreciate the need. I hate wearing them.

More uncomfortably, I’m leery of public places. We ventured over to Callaway Gardens where you can still stroll outside and enjoy the plants. I wouldn’t touch the handrails. I scrubbed my hands in the restroom. I stayed far from other people.

This damn virus is reinforcing my inner hermit. That inner hermit needs to be coaxed into the world to make contacts and interact. Instead, it’s being fed. That’s makes this less difficult for me than for some others. However, I’m not sure that’s the best way for me to grow.

Dan was expressing concern over how this is affecting the little guys. What will be the long term effects of social distancing on 4 year olds. They don’t understand why. At least one thinks his cousin no longer likes him since he can’t come to play or go to school. It’s true. They need to interact and be with each other. I hope we get “back to normal” sooner rather than later, but I think it’s going to be longer than any of us expect.

Carry on.

Not “From a Distance”

The priest at Christmas Eve mass struck a chord with me. He began by reflecting on the first men on the moon — seeing the earth “as it really is” from a distance. He spoke about them looking back at earth and seeing it as a distant, beautiful blue and green globe. He progressed to Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” with God watching us from a distance. The good in this view is that we can see that we are all so very alike — all so very human. But, he and I agree – Christmas proclaims a very different reality. God is with us. God is not watching from a distance.

God may very well be able to step back and get some distance. We humans all need to do that at times… get some distance. But, the reality is that God is with us. God is in the midst of the messiness of our lives. God is present in birth and death and every experience in between. God is present in the joy of a new child, the frustration of a father who is struggling to make a decent life for that child and in an inn keeper who is out of resources and doesn’t have room. God is so very present that he took on our flesh, walked in our bones, felt all of our emotions, loved up close.

Christmas reminds me of this. If God loves me enough to take on my form of existence and walk with me, then I am called to do the same with others — and not stay at a distance. That’s not really what I think of as easy — I do separate myself. I am unwilling to share all too often even with those I am physically close to.

Little Child — help me to be willing to live not at a distance from You or our brothers and sisters.

Oh – and Merry Christmas!