A few nights ago, I was playing through a hymn I've been working on for several weeks. It's full of those broken chords I mentioned a few weeks ago. It may be in the key of C, but there are a few accidentals that add a bit of challenge for this middle-aged adult beginner-pianist. Yet, I decided I knew the piece well enough to invite my husband to play the guitar part. We played through it several times, and I marveled how much easier it was to stay on the beat because someone else was keeping time with me. I stopped worrying about playing the notes and thought about the song.
I thought about the pandemic our world is experiencing.
I thought about one of the recommendations being encouraged: social distancing. Personally, I am not overly concerned about staying home, spending time with my favorite people, cuddling up with my pets, and having more time to write, read, and knit. I set up a social-distance routine for myself. I am an introvert, albeit an extroverted one. But, I require my alone-time in order to be emotionally healthy. Adding a physical well-being component to that isn't a hardship for me.
Although I enjoy hugs from family and friends, I have learned sometimes it's best to avoid physical contact. My son with special needs is quite affectionate, but many of those who share his diagnosis are not. I know people without a special needs diagnosis who do not appreciate private displays of affection let alone public ones. I do attempt to respect the social bubble of others. I know several of these individuals, as well as other demographics in our community, have compromised immune systems. In these times, social distancing is part of loving my neighbor.
But, there will be people who find social distancing isolating. We need to give these people more eye contact, a bigger smile, a kinder word. Although it is not the same, a virtual face-to-face conversation with warm beverages is possible. I'll raise my hand high and volunteer for that one!
Many people won't be worshiping in their churches on Sundays. Schools are closing. Employers are encouraging working from home. We may have to be publicly distanced. But, our private lives might feel a bit claustrophobic in the coming days.
There are people who cannot avoid being in social situations because of their work. Of course, those in healthcare need our support and prayers. But, another work force needs our support: store clerks and courtesy staff.
Maybe my mom-radar is on high alert because my son with special needs started his job at a grocery store last week. (May I repeat that? My son--who has met social challenges his entire life--has a job!) I could be concerned about his health. I'm not. I'm more concerned about how he will be treated because of the heightened anxiety of others. Of course, if he shows signs of illness, I would keep him home. Otherwise, I'm letting him go to work as scheduled. Those who are waiting in the checkout line where he is bagging may have to be patient. He's only been on the job for a week, after all.
I hope they do catch something from him. I know he will share it. He can't help it.
I hope they catch an opportunity to see his smile and be encouraged.
Back to the song I mentioned at the beginning. We may have to practice social distancing with one another. But, we never have to practice social distancing with God. Just walking closer with Him can make all the difference for our entire well-beings. Enjoy those moments with those living and breathing in the shared-space of home. Live courtesy. And smile.