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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster