One of the hardest things about this time of pandemic is the requirement that we stay physically distanced. I know we call it “social distancing” but I think that was a terrible choice of words. We aren’t really social distancing. The virus doesn’t really care how social or friendly you are. (Except for the whole hugging, kissing, dancing, handshaking stuff.) It isn’t about being social. Its about being in close proximity. To stay safe and protect one another, we need to stay away from each other physically. At the same time, we need each other socially more than ever. So how do we maintain a safe distance and still stay social?
How do we create and maintain our connections in this challenging time?
It may be challenging, but it is certainly possible. And we’ve got lots of ways to make it work.
The telephone still works. Have you called someone today to check-in? One phone call a day just to let someone know you care could mean a great deal right now. Email has connected the whole world. We can send a note via email around the globe in seconds. It doesn’t even cost a stamp. And speaking of stamps… the post office, despite some nefarious shenanigans, is still functioning. It might take a while, but an old fashioned card or letter will still get delivered. And in the last 6 months, we’ve all discovered the wonderful world of Zoom. (Ok… wonderful might be stretching it. But– Zoom has allowed UUC and many congregations around the world to continue to hold meetings and worship services. Every Sunday, UUC holds a worship service via Zoom at 10 a.m. We’ve recently added a social hour after the service, and people have been having a grand time catching up with one another and meeting new people in small groups. Bonus– you can even attend worship and the social hour in your slippers. We are also using Zoom to host our Soul Matters groups and our small group ministry gatherings. These groups provide a regular, intimate, facilitated space to practice our deep listening and our spiritual exploring.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to connect with you all as your new interim minister. Doing so in this time of physical distancing is a challenge. But I’m looking for ways to get to know you all and to introduce myself to you all safely. I’d really like to spend some time talking with each and every one of you. I want to hear your stories. I want to hear what you love about UUC and what you are hoping for when we get past this pandemic. A few of you have reached out and we’ve spoken on the phone, met via zoom, and even chatted face-mask to face-mask on the UUC yard. Those conversations have been great, but I’m not getting enough of them. So… if I don’t hear from you, I’m just going to start contacting folks randomly from the directory. I’m hoping to meet with all of you before Halloween. Right now, I’m afraid my trips to Stamford are on hold. (Oneonta, where I live, is currently experiencing a major surge in new cases of the virus, thanks mostly to the return of the university students. It’s a bit scary, so Cheryl and I are getting tested and going back to full-on sheltering-in-place.) But I’m still available by phone 607-287-7906, by email email@example.com, and by Zoom (by appointment).
We may be physically distanced, but we can still be socially connected. Reach out! Connect! You never know who’s day you might be brightening, who’s spirits you might be lifting.