by Lisa DeRosa
“Social distancing” – two words that are both a benefit and a curse.
We were created for connection with people and yet, the physical connection in this time is dangerous. The effects of “social distancing” have kept people safe and decreased the spread of the virus and flu, but has also increased isolation of people, created in God’s image to be in community with one another. After 3 months of stay home, stay safe, I feel the effects of “social distancing”. Trips to visit family and friends were cancelled and I cannot foresee when I will travel again. I am grateful that I and my housemates are safe and that we do live in a community so we are not alone. But I have become weary of not meeting with my church family, my blood relatives, and having friends in my home.
As we continue to stay home and stay safe to protect and care for others, to keep ourselves, our medical workers, janitors, and other essential workers safe, I want to branch out from my weariness, from my lack of connection, and think of creative ways to safely be present with my friends by “distant socializing“. Not on a screen. For my mental and emotional health, I need this switch from “social distancing” to “distant socializing”. This reduces my tendency toward fear and isolation to connection and creativity. The social norms of Happy Hour after work, going to the movies, or grabbing dinner at a restaurant together are not doable right now in Seattle. Activities together look different. Last weekend, my husband and I drove to Chick-fil-A to get lunch with our Life Group leader. It was pouring rain, so he stayed in his car with the window rolled down and we sat in our hatchback trunk facing each other to enjoy lunch “together”. It was the most life-giving interaction with a friend we had had all week.
This post, Seeing Differently as a Way of Life, was helpful as I have pondered this next season ahead. As we move into summer here in the northern hemisphere, the possibilities for “distant socializing” greatly increase! We want to share ways to connect with family and friends that is safe and respectful of each other’s physical space but breathes life into our much needed relationships! This NPR article also helped me discern what safe practices could be possible for this summer. For our southern hemisphere readers, we have included indoor activities too! Please share what ideas you have with us!
- Create a Gratitude Garden – invite others to bring their own supplies and make one with you
- Resources for starting a garden – websites and books to help get you started, ask a friend to help too
- Tips for Community Gardens during COVID – BC Centre for Disease Control provided this very helpful guide!
- Walking Barefoot Through the Neighborhood by Andy Wade – walk with another person to share in this experience
- The Spiritual Practice of Going Barefoot – connect with the ground while you connect with a friend
- The Practice of Play by Lilly Lewin – great ideas from Lilly, most of which can be done at home or safely in your neighborhood
- The Spiritual Practice of Beach Combing – if you live near a beach, lake, or any water, this can be a great way to venture outside safely with others
- Awe and Wonder Walks – point out the beauty you see to someone when you go for a walk
- The Delight of Walking in the Rain – perfect for the Pacific North West and other rainy places
- Lectio Tierra – great practice explained by Andy Wade
- Fire pit hang out – roast marshmallows or sausages over the fire while keeping distance
- Ideas for kids – 10 ways to help kids get outside while living in the city
- Prayers of a Different Sort: A Children’s Prayer Book – prayer walks, labyrinths and more!
- Backyard games – we like to play croquette, catch, and disk golf in our backyard but here are so many games you can play outside!
- Knitting as a Spiritual Practice by Lisa Scandrette – sit farther apart, but still within chatting distance! Knit items for your local charity of choice to bless others in need
- Spirituality of Gardening Online Course – sign up with a friend to talk about the material together
- Divine Doodling – such fun to see what creative drawings come from this practice – ask others to join you!
- Gift of Wonder Online Retreat – creative retreat experience for at home use
- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt – a reflective activity for indoors or outdoors
- Painting Leaves – I love this activity, the Mustard Seed House did this last fall and we all really enjoyed it
- Finger Labyrinth – lovely contemplative practice, great to make with others and use together or by yourself
- Colourful Me – great for kids who love to colour and let their creativity shine!
What other ideas do you have that we should add to this list?