How has Pandemic Living Affected Your Relationships?

We are wired for human connection. We are made in the image of God, who exists in the community of the trinity. As human beings, we are wired for connection, for intimacy, and for love. Our very brains need meaningful interaction with other humans to be well and healthy. Jesus prayed for our connections to one another.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).

Wherever and in whatever phase of life you find yourself, you likely and hopefully exist within a framework of relationships: with yourself, with God, with others.

Designed for connection

Social distancing and staying apart for the sake of loving our neighbors has strained our brains and souls—the isolation has taxed us in the most elemental and human of ways. The very human connection we need was what we needed to deny ourselves to protect one another. We are still processing and will continue to process for years to come this collective trauma and all it has rendered on our bodies, minds, and souls as humankind globally.

What did you notice about yourself in pandemic-living?

Whether you were alone during the year of pandemic-living or with family and loved ones, pause and consider what have you noticed about yourself and those you share space and life with after all the lockdowns and quarantines.

This past year, everything was intensified. With containment in our spaces, our lives becoming in many ways simplified, condensed, and centered around routines and sameness—same place (four walls of your home), same people (yourself, spouse, children, roommates), same activities—the year gave us the opportunity or made us consider who and how we are.

Questions for reflection:

  • What is your primary way of identifying yourself? (When you introduce yourself, what do you say?) Was it with your work? Your relationships?
  • Were any of these impacted or taken away by the pandemic?
  • How did it feel to have a core way of identifying yourself be taken away?
  • How did you cope?
  • How have you identified yourself in the wake of those aspects of your ‘identity’ being removed or changed?
  • How were your primary human relationships impacted by pandemic living?
  • Do you feel your relationships have been strengthened or strained? Or both?
  • What was good about the way the world and your world shifted in response to living in the midst of a pandemic?
  • What was lost?

Acknowledge the changes

Perhaps you noticed that the things in your relationships that have always been there that being made to stay home and stay still forced to the forefront.

Perhaps you noticed how short-tempered you can be when confined to the recesses of your home, unable to go out and about as you’re used to.

Perhaps you realized how much your mental and emotional wellness is reliant on being able to see and be with friends and family, and how difficult it has been not to be able to do so.

Perhaps you noticed the general wearing down of your psyche by all the unknown, uncertainty, and fear caused by living in a world where we can harm each other by our breath, and the world shifting so profoundly beneath our feet.

It’s important to name these things so we can recognize them fully for what they are and what they meant for us.

How do we live well with ourselves and with others?

Whether or not you are in a place where restrictions may be lifting, this global reality of of living with this virus in our midst continues. We still need to care for ourselves and our neighbors by our actions and how we interact with one another. Praise the Lord for vaccine availability. Even so, the world as we know it has fundamentally changed.

  • How can we live well with ourselves and with those we are in relationship with in the midst of the reality we find ourselves in?
  • What are ways you can honor yourself, your created, made-as-you self in the midst of a hard season?
  • What are ways you can honor those you are in relationship with whom you live with?
  • How can you honor those you love who are far from you?

It’s an ongoing conversation, an ongoing task, one that is not done.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).

About the author — Joella Ranaivoson

Joella is an artist using words in writing, songs, and acting to convey truths about being human. Storytelling is the joy. Everything feeds everything, so take it all in and let it feed your creativity.

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