What blessings can social distancing carry?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives around the world. Some simply moved their work to a home office. Others have lost jobs, companies, even relatives.
A term we have never heard that is now making headlines is social distancing. In short, social distancing means maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the frequency with which people come into close contact to slow down and / or prevent the spread of germs.
Nobody says COVID-19 is a good thing. However, in the dark, searching for the light can give us hope and remind us that God can use all things for good (Romans 8:28).
Here are seven blessings that can come from social distancing.
1. Social distance helps us to slow down
No sport, few errands, no clubs after school, no driving to meetings. During COVID-19, everything has slowed down to the essentials. Instead of rushing from place to place, people in many places are only allowed to leave their homes to buy essentials like groceries.
One activity that is recommended for those who are not city dwellers is enjoying nature. For this reason, it doesn't matter what time of day I go for a walk. I see more people on the desert path than ever before. The people around me suddenly have time to go for a walk with their partner or to go cycling with their children.
The other day, I stood alone in a field of wildflowers for five minutes, without hurry, just inhaling their sweet scent and appreciating the way they danced in the wind. A butterfly scurried past and I breathed a prayer of worship to God.
My family has worked in the garden more than in years. Friends learn new skills or break old hobbies. Those I know are planning more and more phone and video calls to connect. Even those who are completely locked stand on their balconies to sing songs.
Our lives can be so hectic and busy that we have no chance to slow down, rest, think and appreciate God's tiny blessings with wildflowers.
2. Social distancing forces us to spend time with the family
For some, this is not a blessing. Some home environments are unhealthy. In the meantime, others are separated from older family members for security reasons.
For others, however, social distancing has provided a unique opportunity to connect with those who live in their homes. While everyone sticks together, families come to activities, talk and get to know the people around them who have been so busy or so often gone that it sometimes feels like they hardly see each other.
3. Social distance helps us to maintain relationships
It's easy to greet a colleague in the office or in business, or a colleague in class. However, in order to speak to others during social distancing, intentionality, a conscious decision for text, phone call or video chat is required. When we are physically separate from others, we can see how much their company really meant. We gain appreciation for the friends, family, employees and colleagues that we have.
4. Social distance connects us to the world
This pandemic has affected not just a region or a country, but the world. On Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and other social platforms, ordinary people from all over the world feel sorry for or publish humorous “Day # of Quarantine” videos.
In this situation, the world is once united against an enemy. We are reminded that we are all human beings, all created and loved by God and not as different as we sometimes like to think.
5. Social distancing reminds us of what is really important
We can survive without sports, without cabins and without restaurants. With social distance we limit ourselves to our family and our needs.
It is more important to keep our families and others healthy than to go out and live our normal lives.
We are reminded of how precious life is and how many things we can really do without.
6. Social distance helps us to appreciate those who cannot
Doctors and nurses at the forefront deserve our respect and gratitude. They make great sacrifices to save lives.
However, new heroes have also emerged. Grocery store employees, factory workers, and even Amazon retailers have been overlooked in the past. Now we see how important these people are for the functioning of our society.
What would we do if our local food workers refused to show up? When farmers and manufacturers decided to stop shipping food and supplies?
We are finally realizing how much we owe to every member of society.
When this is over, we may have more compassion. Maybe we don't stop calling them heroes. Maybe we treat these important employees with the respect they deserve.
7. Social distancing gives us the opportunity to bear witness
How will we as Christians react in this uncertain time? Are we going to panic? Are we fighting for toilet paper? Will we eat our quarantine camp under stress and complain about the end of the world?
Or do we stay calm and trust in God? Will we show compassion and help the needy? Will we face others?
Will we continue to make godly decisions and use this time to build our relationship with Christ and those we live with?
When the world feels like it's falling apart, eyes are on Christians. How we act reflects our beliefs. Will we show the peace and comfort that can be found by believing in Jesus, or will we pretend that our God is not big enough to care for us in a time of crisis?
People need hope that this world cannot give, hope that can only be found through a loving God who rules over everyone and even cares about wildflowers and sparrows (Matthew 6: 26-30).
In the end, COVID-19 did some terrible things. However, we can see that God continues to pour blessings on all things when we are ready to look.
© iStock / Getty Images Plus / yacobchuk
Alyssa Roat studied writing, theology and the Bible at Taylor University. She is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., advertising manager at Mountain Brook Ink and a freelance editor at Sherpa Editing Services. Her passions for studying the Bible and her creativity collide in her writing. Her debut novel Wraithwood will be released on November 7, 2020. She has published more than 150 bylines in publications ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids. Learn more about them here and on social media @alyssawrote.