At the deepest part of me, I’m an introvert. I need that alone time to recharge. I don’t get that from other people, like my extrovert friends say they do. I actually can’t imagine being in a room full of people for a long period of time not having the life sucked out of me. And that’s what makes me an introvert.
But at the core, I still love people. I love MY people. I love being around them and being able to do things with and for them. As an enneagram 2, if I’m alone I have no one to help. And that’s awkward for me.
So here we sit in a strange place in history. Covid-19 is calling us all to practice social distancing and stay away from each other. Some people are excited. The memes are funny, but real life is not.
Some of you, in the event of quarantine, will be in a house full of people, albeit the people you created who you probably at some point will want to kill, but there will be people there nonetheless. Your single friends are not so lucky. For us quarantine sounds awful.
Because we know about social isolation, even when there is no virus threat. We know what it is to be lonely. We know that there would be a real possibility we wouldn’t talk to a living soul for weeks and that’s frightening, even to an introvert.
I remember a few years ago, there were days were I could go a full 24 hours without saying anything to anyone. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t hate it. I was so over stimulated from peopling so hard that alone time was awesome. But something changed in the last few years.
I learned what it was to have real people, a family of sorts, that love and care for you. I learned about community. I’m not always good at it, but I learned how to exist in a room with these people without having to do anything or be anything to any of them. When I learned this, their presence reenergized me. Their presence is my home. It recharges my heart, and I’m sad when they aren’t around.
Today in the midst of not being sure what is going to happen with social distancing and quarantining and all the things, I gave them the option. I said I’m gonna be here and I cleaned my kitchen (you’re welcome). They all came (except for one with virus symptoms…thank you for not).
We all gathered together and sat around and talked. My community processed. We didn’t do anything deep, we just existed in the same room for hours, and it was soul healing. And we made a commitment in all of this to continue to love each other and check on each other and to figure out how to hang out even if we can’t hang out. Because this is my community.
Right now I feel it everywhere I go. People are scared. The mood is sombre and heavy. People don’t want to be around people. It’s a atmosphere where allergies get you treated like the plague. I’m even using my inhaler for fear that an asthmatic cough may get me kicked out of somewhere. That’s our world right now.
But what else I feel is people just need people. They need to be seen and loved, at safe distances. They need to know they still matter. They need to know that we’re all going to be okay and even if we’re not, we’re all in this together. They need to feel hope.
So turn off your television. Stop looking at facebook so much. Stop thinking about whether or not you washed your hands or touched your face. Just love people. Give them a smile from across the room. Call a friend and tell them you’re thinking about them. Offer toilet paper to a neighbor if you have extra.
As the church, what we can do in this crisis is love people. What we can do is provide hope for the people that even though we don’t know what is going to happen, we serve the One who does. Perhaps this is the time you were created for, to bring hope and peace to this world that seems so dark and chaotic.
So let’s start getting back to the business of loving people, maybe without touching them. Let’s meet together, online at a safe distance. Let’s use our internet for good instead of evil for once. Go out and encourage someone tomorrow, whether going out means outside of your home or out on the internet. We live in a world where we can maintain safe distances and still have some connection. Let’s use that to our advantage.
Let’s surround the internet with the love and faith that we all have and may that be greater than the fear everyone else has. As with all the things lately, I’m exchanging the lies the enemy is telling me for the truth God does and I’m repeating them until they’re true. Let’s do that for each other. Keep spreading hope. Keep repeating it until we have no choice but to believe it. Love your people. And when you’re done, love all the other people too.