We’re connected. Your laptop to your WiFi, my cell phone to Verizon’s towers, cars to satellites for GPS, and if you’re fancy, even your refrigerator might be connected to something, somewhere, letting you know when you’re almost out of eggs or that the milk will be expiring soon.
It’s nearly impossible to truly disconnect, and most of us don’t really want to! We were all born craving and requiring a connection with something and someone, and generally we try to foster and grow that connection, often even unconsciously. When we’re first born that role is typically filled at least initially by parents. Then, other close family members, and siblings, and eventually grows to include friends and co-workers, potentially a spouse and maybe even your own children. Play dates, happy hours, church services, group meditations, book clubs, or, yoga, the focus and depth of the connections may grow and change as those people grow and change, but the fact that we are all connected remains.
But then came the Virus, and if nothing else, the rate of spread and infection from this virus is proof of how connected we are in the world. It brought with it increased anxiety, stress, job loss, self-isolation, quarantine, sickness, and death. In an instant, nearly every single one of us were cut off from all of our regular social and work interactions, severing the vast majority of our connections to those outside our own direct household and requiring the bulk of any conversation to rely on somewhat impersonal technology, from simple phone calls to video chats.
Sending someone a text with a link to a funny video and them replying “LOL” just isn’t the same as having your best friend right next to you laughing as you share the latest meme from The Unusual Buddha, or (heaven forbid) some other lesser site. Saying “hello” from behind your mask to the checkout person at the grocery store while standing at the “6-foot” tape line just isn’t the same as sharing a drink with friends after a week of hard work.
The wake of economic destruction coupled with health complications facing people all over the world has had an interesting effect. However, as alone as we all are in our houses or mostly empty offices, we’re more together now than ever. Not physically of course, but we’re very much together in our aloneness. The issues we face, we face together and while some are handling it with more grace than others, we’re all stuck dealing with the reality of the situation we’re currently facing as human-kind.
There is no shortage of things that divide us from each other, and many of us have different views on hot button topics such as politics and religion, but at the end of the day we all require basic necessities to survive, regardless of our views and beliefs (or even lack thereof). Checking on our neighbors, offering to drop some extra groceries off to someone in need, or just taking the time to call old friends are all ways each of us can help others through this dark time and can help strengthen the bonds with those around us that will hopefully last longer than social isolation from this virus.
So I encourage each of you to keep looking for ways to get and stay connected to those around you through the upcoming weeks and possibly months. Give each other (and yourself!) some extra grace and understanding as we navigate through this uncharted territory together. Even though we may not be able to actually “be” together, we are still all dealing with this together, and hopefully that helps you feel a little less alone.
The writer of this piece has asked to remain anonymous