Life has been upended by an invisible virus. The byword has become distance—social distance.
Mothers’ day meant distance from our kids. At least we sat on our porch six feet away from our daughter and her husband. We parted with virtual hugs. No touch. No visit from our son in Mississauga. Fortunately, he and our son in Atlanta called Mary Helen.
Since our daughter lives in a nearby village, she has taken it upon herself to get a lot of our groceries. But no hugs. No touch. As a rather stolid man, I didn’t realize how much I missed the hugs of our kids and grandkids.
Then there’s distance from our doctors. Appointments and blood tests cancelled. Yeah! Celebration…but wait, should we be concerned about all the regular medical decisions postponed? At least Mary Helen has been able to schedule a clinic visit and phone consultations using photos sent to her skin specialist.
Coffee with friends also meant distance. Two friends came over with lawn chairs they put up below our porch for a chinwag. All went well until a cold wind sprang up. We found them blankets so they could join us on the porch at a distance.
In April a dear friend died from Coviod-19. He died isolated in the hospital. Isolated from family and friends. Dave was one of those quiet, dependable saints who demonstrate the reality of our faith. Always there to welcome new and old to the service. Tall and thin but with a grip like iron. Always available if one needed help. Always offering a cheerful countenance and an encouraging word. Not a a preacher nor a teacher but a wise deacon. One of the first ones to volunteer to join a repair crew sent down south to help in the cleanup from one of their hurricanes. The first one to join the team tasked with helping to build a new church or put on a new roof for someone in straightened circumstances.
True, he was of a good age. True, he is now rejoicing, pain-free in the presence of his Saviour. But there was no gathering of relatives and friends to rejoice in his send off and grieve his loss. Instead there was a very abbreviated grave-side burial with no more than ten attending and lasting no more than 15 minutes. Some of us looked on via zoom. How sad to view this brief acknowledgement of a wonderful man. Distant.
All the rituals attending the death of a friend or relative that have been honed over millennia to bring some closure and celebration to the passing of a life well-lived—all those have been upended. And just this week the father of a friend has died in a distant US state while she is stuck here on this side of the border. Distant.
In spite of all that is hurtful about this pandemic, some good has come of it. The technology that provides social networking has been a boom. We can zoom with our families or social groups! We can attend church remotely with a cup of coffee nearby. Well that’s not so great. But here in our condo community I’ve noticed a happy increase in friendliness and socializing—at a distance of six feet. And of course, for the people of faith, it is a great time to rest on all those promises of Scripture. But God speed the return of touch and hugs!