Many people have started experiencing a new temporary norm this week, isolation. The concept of social distancing would be an experiment many people would prefer to pass on, if asked to participate. This experiment would have limited feedback if conducted in a small town, or a campus as part of a thesis paper for a doctorate degree, but no this is happening in a big slice of the Northern Hemisphere. Here is a brief list of things I have noticed this week, not in any particular order.
- The internet has changed tone in just a few weeks. We have become accustom to internet trolls, bots that post and pretend to be a person, and just generally the vitriol that some people spew. I have seen small and large companies hosting virtual social outings. Yoga classes, virtual happy hours, churches hosting communions online, etc… When faced with a crisis that restricts people’s freedom, we see people gravitating towards the things in life that matter most, relationships. This virus is a terrible thing, I hope we (as humans) find an answer to the problems many citizens of the world are facing. Continue this cleansing of the internet, it was long overdue.
- We understand the importance of touch. A handshake, a hug, putting your arms around another person does more for our mental well being them most of us realized. The six foot spacing rule is very practical and needed to try to eradicate the spread of the virus. Yet, I see people having a very difficult time with quarantine, separation, being able to sit in coffee shops, restaurants, walk through stores, even having others over for dinner. Maybe, this sense we call touch is not to be underestimated.
- Prisons look much different then before enforced quarantines. Last year I read a book titled “Hell is a small place”, the book is about solitary confinement. Prisoners, gave interviews for the book about the effects of being locked down twenty three hours a day in a six-by-nine foot cell. For those of you that have cabin fever, imagine the inhumanity of being locked up in the conditions I listed above, by the way, some of these prisoners have been there in excess of ten years. We do not understand the long term affect of social separation, maybe we should consider its trauma and long term effects on other human beings.
- Organizing our lives is an act that will have long term effects. Marie Kondo wrote a best selling book and started an entire worldwide movement titled “Tidying Up.” This is based on removing clutter from our lives. Take this opportunity to clean every part of your house and make your rooms purposeful. Unsubscribe from the things that vy for your attention that are no longer needed. You need time to tidy up, you have it now, do not squander it by binge watching Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services. Do not watch 24 hour a day updates on the Coronavirus. Be productive, put your mind in a better place.
This is a transformative time in world history. Things will be a little different when we get a handle on this pandemic. Sometimes, change is needed for correcting the course mankind should take. Do not hoard food, toiletries or other items needed by people that cannot afford to stockpile essentials. Life is short, we should use the gifts God has given to all of us to make others lives better. This is a time to think, prioritize and change course. May God’s grace and peace drive your decisions during this trying time.