Meaning In Our Lives
There is always meaning, possibility and even blessing waiting to be discovered even within the darkest depths of the human experience. These difficult days right now are no exception. Nowhere is this more obvious, and relevant, than with community.
Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of our lifetime is that through being in isolation, we are coming together in unity. When has the world been so in sync? When has there been this uniformity of response across the globe?
More ironic still, at a time where the vast majority are self-quarantined, through the blessings of technology we are connected in ways we might not have been while walking past one another with our heads buried in our phones. Before that phone took us out of relationship. Today that very phone is opening up communication, taking us into relationship. At least it has the potential to do so if we are willing to open our minds in way we think about community, connection and relationships.
Look, I’m pretty forward thinking when it comes to technology – probably too forward thinking for some of my previous congregants. However, this past week has been a revelation even to me regarding the possibilities of fostering online community and relationships. Here is what I’ve seen on the screen.
Virtual School & Playdates
Having four school aged kids at home, our first concern was what in the hell are we going to do with these children all day, every day for 2 weeks, which turned into 4 weeks, and last I heard may be till the next academic year!
Thank you lord for those screens, as, at least with two of the kids, their school didn’t miss a beat. They have been on the computer with their classmates, everyday since the outbreak.
During the lunch break, one of them went on a walk with her friend. Sure, it was phone in hand, not hand in hand, but watching her chat the day away while walking in the sunshine, smiling, laughing and having a good time was satisfying beyond words.
And my teens, well they are still teens, doing what teenagers do – going to house parties, that’s right, house parties, an app which I had no clue was even a thing. (BTW yours are probably there too, and the fact the we didn’t know it is reassuring as some things never change). These house parties are virtual, and the best of both worlds, as they come and go from one to another, no alcohol, no drugs, no worries about drunk driving, though we still argue over curfew.
Reunions, Classes & So Much More
Over the past week I’ve been invited to multiple on-line get togethers with old college friends, current work colleagues, and some cousins I haven’t spoken to in years. This coming week, Ariela and I have an online date with another couple to drink wine, catch up and reconnect.
We’ve spoken with our doctor via Telehealth, our accountant on Zoom, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t talked to, let alone seen my mother this much since Highschool. Plus we have her roped in to babysitting her grandkids and though it started out as simple book reading, when I came down last time grandpa had jumped in and was teaching them Seven Card Stud – online learning of sorts I suppose.
There are yoga classes being offered (check out Ariela’s, complimentary and calming Yoga Experience). There are exercise classes to take, symphonies to attend and online courses to keep us busy for as long as this virus takes to run its own course.
I’m even teaching an upcoming online class on rekindling the spark of intimacy between lovers. You’ll just have to tune int to see how that one plays out. And Passover and Easter are heading into uncharted territory as family’s go on line for the Passover seder, and parishioners across the globe tune in to hear their pastors preach. This year both holidays take on a whole new level of meaning, as we long for liberation, freedom, salvation in every aspect of our life.
The list of opportunities is endless. The only limits are within our thinking, our worldview and our way of thinking about community. In the words of my teacher, Parker Palmer, who writes in his gem of a book: A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life:
Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people-it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.
Yes, these are difficult times. Yes, we all want to return to a life of physical, human interaction to be sure. However, that is not our current choice. Right here, right now, the choice is about finding meaning where we stand; challenging our assumptions about the way we connect, and opening ourselves up to the possibilities of relationship around us.
Just because we are alone, does not mean we have to be lonely. Turn on your computer. Find places and people with whom you want to connect, need to connect, or are in need of your connection. It is never about the physical presence of other people. It always about being fully open to the reality, the possibility of relationship, and the beauty of relationship, whether or not we are alone.
There it is, a conscious community of your choosing, right there at your fingertips.
Get connected. Stay connected. Be connected. Now, and long after this virus is gone.