“Social distancing” – two words that are both a benefit and a curse.
We were created for connection with people and yet, physical connection in this time is dangerous. The effects of “social distancing” have kept people safe and decreased the spread of the virus and flu, but has also increased isolation of people, created in God’s image to be in community with one another.
After 3 months of “stay home, stay safe,” I feel the effects of “social distancing.” Trips to visit family and friends were cancelled and I cannot foresee when I will travel again. I am grateful that the other members of our small intentional community and I are safe and that we do live in a community so we are not alone. But I have become weary of not meeting with my church family, my blood relatives, and friends face-to-face.
As we continue to stay home and stay safe to protect and care for others, to keep ourselves, our medical workers, janitors, and other essential workers safe, I want to branch out from my weariness, from my lack of connection, and think of creative ways to safely be present with my friends by “distant socializing.” Not on a screen. For my mental and emotional health, I need this switch from “social distancing” to “distant socializing.” This reduces my tendency toward fear and isolation to connection and creativity. The social norms of Happy Hour after work, going to the movies, or grabbing dinner at a restaurant together are not doable right now in Seattle. Activities together look different.
A couple of weeks ago, community members Lisa and Dan, drove to Chick-fil-A to get lunch with their Life Group leader. It was pouring rain, so he stayed in his car with the window rolled down and they sat in our hatchback trunk facing each other to enjoy lunch “together.” It was the most life-giving interaction with a friend we had had all week.
As we move into summer here in the northern hemisphere, the possibilities for “distant socializing” greatly increase! We want to share ways to connect with family and friends that are safe and respectful of each other’s physical space but breathes life into our much needed relationships! Here are some suggestions from Godspace, the community blog I facilitate, that you might like to try.We want to share ways to connect with family and friends that are safe and respectful of each other’s physical space but breathes life into our much needed relationships! ~ Christine Sine Click To Tweet
- Start a garden and invite friends and your church community to help. Check out these Resources for starting a garden
- Create a Gratitude Garden – invite others to bring their own supplies and make one with you.
- Connect with the ground while you connect with a friend. Read these blog posts and organize a barefoot walk around your neighborhood – Walking Barefoot Through the Neighborhood by Andy Wade and The Spiritual Practice of Going Barefoot
- Awe and Wonder Walks – point out the beauty you see to someone when you go for a walk
- The Delight of Walking in the Rain – perfect for the Pacific Northwest and other rainy places
- The Practice of Play by Lilly Lewin – great ideas from Lilly, most of which can be done at home or safely in your neighborhood
- Fire pit hang out – roast marshmallows or sausages over the fire while keeping distance
- Ideas for kids – 10 ways to help kids get outside while living in the city
- Backyard games – we like to play croquette, catch, and disc golf in our backyard but here are so many games you can play outside!
Get out and about While Social Distancing:
- The Spiritual Practice of Beach Combing – if you live near a beach, lake, or any water, this can be a great way to venture outside safely with others
- Lectio Tierra – great practice explained by Andy Wade
- Knitting as a Spiritual Practice by Lisa Scandrette – sit farther apart, but still within chatting distance! Knit items for your local charity of choice to bless others in need
- Spirituality of Gardening Online Course – sign up with a friend to talk about the material together
- Divine Doodling – such fun to see what creative drawings come from this practice – ask others to join you!
- Gift of Wonder Online Retreat – creative retreat experience for at home use
- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt – a reflective activity for indoors or outdoors
- Painting Leaves – I love this activity; the Mustard Seed House did this last fall and we all really enjoyed it
- Finger Labyrinth – lovely contemplative practice, great to make with others and use together or by yourself
So get out there and have some fun. Encourage your church members to discover new ways to deepen their spiritual connections this summer through the simple everyday activities that they are able to.
(This post is adapted from one written by my assistant Lisa De Rosa a couple of weeks ago to highlight Godspace resources. It is used with permission)
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