“Social” Distancing? Really?

What a time we are in and how creative we are called to be. How prayerful we need to be of those globally who have contracted COVID-19.  But I have an issue… with the phrase “social distancing.”

As this time of sheltering in place and paying attention to potential symptoms, I realized what I am asked to do is be physically distant.  With limited physical shared space besides the Sisters with whom I live, it is interesting to see how staff at the grocery stores & pharmacies do their jobs with and for us and also keep distance.

We need not be unsocial in our interactions but cautious with our physical presence.

We all need social, spiritual, emotional and soul-filled connections.

Where I live, we may take walks and be mindful of physical space, but a greeting and wave is a way to socially acknowledge the other we see.

Some of my walks are silent meditations, some I listen to a podcast or a radio station.  The best are those when I call a friend and tell them I am taking a walk asking – are they available for a chat.  These newsy exchanges – across physical miles – energizes us and makes this time of caution and precautions a little bit better.

What creative ways of living have helped you during this time as you shelter in place?  If you are an essential worker, who and what sustains you?

I am concerned for those for whom the pandemic endangers their lives because of their work, for those who wonder how they will manage financially, for those in refugee camps and other places where medical care will be so overwhelmed that there is no hope.  And…the list of essential workers is bigger than we know. 

This is part of my prayer list.  What is yours?  Let us hold our world in prayer.

Roberta Popara, OP
Westchester, IL