“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Martin Luther King Jr.
At of the time of writing this post we are only days into “social distancing” and “self in place,” which means we have been mandated to stay home, only going out for necessities. And in following this State of CA mandate, I have discovered something very important: I actually miss the presence of other people, even bodies with whom I have no relationship, like when I used to go shopping.
The Introverts Need for Connection
Now for me that is a surprise. I am an introvert that loves solitude and alone time. Two months ago I spent six days in sequestered solitude—no books or electronic devices allowed—and found myself perfectly comfortable with the aloneness. But, I knew it would last only six days and then I would be back in the social mix.
My friend Terry Hershey—an introvert to the extreme—wrote in his last Sabbath Moment post,
CDC: To prevent coronavirus stay home, avoid physical contact and don’t go into large crowds.
Introverts: I’ve been preparing for this moment my entire life.
Created as Social Beings
Yes, I got a kick out of that joke, but it is not the case for the masses, including most introverts. What I think I miss most is some connection with other people. We are created as social beings. Belonging is a basic need in our inner psyche of personal well-being. And with the coronavirus I am being suspended from any such activities. As Martin Luther Kind Jr. observed: what affects one, affects all. “This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
We are all to greater and lesser degrees impacted by the absence of human contact beyond that of our immediate families. The Christian life, for instance, was intended to be a communal reality known as “the body of Christ.” Such community will not be observed for the upcoming weeks if not months. Shoot, even Easter Services at church may be cancelled!
Let’s Get Creative
I think now is the time to prepare for (1) learning to maintain a diet of life in solitude, and (2) seeking out creative ways to interact socially by virtual connection. I have already attended extraordinarily successful ZOOM meetings that were once regarded as not possible without face-to-face interaction.
I see a new and progressive movement in social media, where by some chance people actually care for one another, Facetime, Skype, personal email letters instead of email factoids.
We really do need each other. Relationship is essential for fundamental sanity as human beings.
It is time to be patient and strong in our seclusion, but it is also time to reach out to friends and colleagues creatively.
Self In Place…
Instead, Why Not Selves in Place?
Photo courtesy of LucaLorenzelli at istockphoto