Social Distancing…Humans are not made for social distancing. We are social. We like each other. We need touch. We need care. Research has shown that babies that are just cared for in their basic needs become stunted in their ability to love and receive love. Babies need cuddling, touch, embraces, and kisses. But here we are, facing a pandemic that requires us to stay away from one another. Even if we do meet, it is to be an elbow bump.
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” I remember well coming from a church that shook hands, said hello, and nice to have you here. When I became Spirit filled, I was introduced to Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship. In El Paso, I attended their meeting for the first time. The president, a barrel chested man of strength, came up to me and gave me a huge, breath taking, lung squeezing hug, and said welcome. I was in shock. Guys hugging guys? People so open in their expression of brotherly love. This was a long way from a hand shake. I came to learn that this was the way these Christians greeted one another. There was nothing perverted about it. From then on I became comfortable with this expression and soon became a hugger myself.
I also have seen new people respond the way I did at first and I explain to them our form of Christian expression.
But now, there is concern for the mental well being of folks since they are isolated with stay at home orders, do not touch, wash your hands, wear gloves, stay six feet away, wear masks. All these precautionary orders or strong suggestions are for safety sake to curb and defeat the virus we are warring against. Yet, this approach is stressing our people and how do we handle it so the loneliness and isolation do not cause other severe problems.
My wife contacted someone recently and they had not had anyone check on them for weeks. They were so happy to talk for a while, FaceTime for a few minutes. The Bible is full of those interactive moments. Fellowship and conversation around the table at a meal are witnessed time and again in Scripture. Jesus did a lot of his teaching around meals with people. Some of the greatest relationships develop around a meal. Huge business deals are many times hammered out over a pleasant meal and conversation. Love relationships develop at meals as conversation leads to commonality.
Isolation has the affect of turning us inward. We hunker down, close the doors, go into a survival mode of sorts. The isolation takes a toll as well as the virus. Some of the protest to the way the pandemic is handled has to do with the sense of isolation forced upon us.
When we started meeting as a church again on Sundays, it was like a homecoming, a reunion. People missed one another. But for safety sake, we also need to stay in contact through phone calls, FaceTime, texting. Somehow, reach out to people who may be shut in, quarantined, or staying away out of fear.
This is a challenging time. It requires special effort. Reach out and touch someone with a note, a card, a phone call. We are humans that need to be loved, touched, shown that someone cares we exist.