The words “social-distancing” were not a part of my vocabulary until maybe February of this year. I recall observing a class in late February or early March when a student sneezed and it caused a commotion. Some students jumped up from their desks and others began to chant, “6 feet, 6 feet.” It was comical, but embarrassing to the child who sneezed. This week I went to a small gathering of five Bible study friends. We were overjoyed to see each other, but it was extremely awkward not to embrace one another - like we could see in each other’s eyes that our hello’s were incomplete, but no one dared to make another uncomfortable by reaching for an embrace.
I don’t think many of us realized just how social we were until things changed. I have a few friends whose homes I visit - or used to visit. My office is a classroom that I share with two colleagues. I really enjoy their company and conversation, but now when I am in the office I am usually there alone. I like to invite my girlfriends over for crafts, dinner, conversation, etc. The last time I did this was Jan. 1, 2020. I want to have a get-together so bad!!! I participate in Zoom meetings all the time, I am shocked at how many individual voices I know. Sometimes the person speaking will be on another screen, but I know them by their voice. I find myself sending private chats or texts to people on Zoom, because I haven’t seen them in months and I miss them! Also, I am a hugger. Last weekend, I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a year or so, and she too is a hugger. We were both wearing face masks, so we decided to give each other a sideways hug! Then there are my sisters, nieces, and nephews. We can’t social distance. We live in Rock Hill, Columbia, and Charleston, but we have probably seen more of each other this summer than any other.
I am beginning to find that Zoom can actually satisfy a great portion of our need to be social. I have had great attendance at this summer’s professional development sessions. I have not cancelled anything due to a lack of interest. Not only have I had my Science teachers tune in, but I’ve met spouses, grandchildren and pets of Science teachers - and I am okay with that! I generally open the meeting about 10 minutes before the scheduled time and we just chat. I think it’s been a warm welcome to our social distance to have like-minded folks gathered in the same space, albeit a virtual space, but we can see each other, talk, feel what the others are feeling, and realize that we are not alone.
While social distancing, we may feel alone, but we are always in God’s presence. David asks in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” The answer is no where, He is always there. James, in James 4:8 states, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” As we feel isolated from people, separated from family and friends, bored because our favorite places are closed or deemed unsafe, what shall we do? What a great time to dust off our Bible and begin reading. As we learn more about God and grow closer to Him, we will realize His awesome presence. He is not far away tending to other business. He has not forsaken us. He has not left us to figure things out with this virus, nor has he left us to figure out what to do about Hurricane Isaias. He is still King or Kings and Lord of Lords. He is still in the business of loving unconditionally and forgiving the unforgivable. He desires for us to wash our hands of sinful desires and ways, and to purify our hearts that we will do His will and not continue to try and meet the expectations of man. God is still God, and he is right where He has always been. He lives in the hearts of those who love Him and He is not social distancing. Amen.
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Stay safe and sanitized this week!