It is a word that stings right now.
As an extreme extrovert, this time of social distancing has been painful. Zoom just doesn’t cut it for me. Book club over Zoom, faith formation over Zoom, baby showers over Zoom, everyone separated by a screen...
It is a lonely time.
But there are some things we can do about it.
Here are some of the ideas for building community, right now, today. These ideas aren't groundbreaking and I have yet to incorporate them, but I am excited to start—today—building community in these ways.
"But I want my life back—what does prayer have to do with it?"
It has everything to do with it. The more fully we are in communion with God, the more true and real the community around us will be!
Making time for prayer should—in theory—be easier now than ever, but I have found the opposite to be true. Without the rhythm of “normal” everyday life, I am more distractible than ever.
However, if you and I take time to be in community with God, our efforts will not be fruitless. He desires community for us, for He created us to be communal beings. Prayer is an essential part of that community.
2. Focus on your family.
In some ways, it feels like I have more to do than ever before! Distance learning with the kids, working from home, et cetera et cetera et cetera. Even without the kids' sports, driving here and there, and all the things we are missing, it still feels as though I have no time.
I think this goes back to not having a proper rhythm to our lives.
This week, I am going to set aside time to play a board game with the kids, to go for a walk with my husband, and to have tea with my daughters. I have community right here in my home—I just need to make time for it!
3. Make a phone call.
It doesn’t have to be a scheduled zoom. Just a good old-fashioned, pick up the phone, “hey, how ya doin' " phone call.
Since this all started, I have spoken to my friends over the phone even less than before. I don’t know if it is because everyone has their heads down working, trying to do the next thing, if everyone is getting used to living “alone,” or what the reason is!
But it’s time to break the silence...people want to hear from you. Pick up the phone!
4. Send a note.
When quarantine began, I asked everyone in my book club for their mailing addresses. I thought I would send people cheery notes.
I haven’t sent even one. I have felt lonely...but I haven’t reached out.
There is something about a written note that stands alone and that nothing can replace. Letters carry a different tone. Letters carry news and thoughts that often get lost in the distraction of life. Send a note!
5. Make plans!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read an article offered this advice: continue to make plans surrounding your due date. Broken plans with a baby in your arms is better than sitting around, alone at home, with a baby in your belly.
Yes, everything is postponed right now. And if you plan a graduation party or first communion party or summer picnic it might have to be canceled, but it also might not! We need to start moving forward with our lives and giving each other hope!
Let others know that you are thinking about them by including them in your future plans!
“God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends, we will find our strength to attain our sublime ideal.”
—St. Maximilian Kolbe