Community Part 3
I am back swimming at the YMCA. Swimming is for introverts. We don’t have to talk to anyone and we are left to our own thoughts guilt free. That is,most of the time. The other day I saw a couple of ladies leisurely swimming together in a lane talking together and having the best time connecting and solving the world’s problems. I chatted with them a minute and found out they met at the Y and became fast friends. They mentioned not everyone likes to swim so it’s easier finding a swimming friend while swimming.
The energy and joy is always there when we see two people of any age walking, working, sitting, praying together. This world needs the gathering of two or more more than ever. Since the Covid and enforced solitude and inactivity we have seen less and less of the gathering of friends.
I came across the term “lock down fatigue.” Lock down fatigue might not be what you think. The author was not referring to being tired of stuck at home alone, rather she was observing the malaise of being a little too comfortable with staying in our jammies, sipping our favorite beverage on our favorite chair without the motivation to clean up, brush our hair or teeth because after all we were not going anywhere and no one was going to see us anyway.
Ah yes, the comfort of not going anywhere or seeing anyone, much less ministering to anyone ( after all, I don’t want to spread the Covid) took hold of me too. It was like a luxiourious blanket to be able to sit by my fire spending a little more time in my devotions rather than rushing out the door in my swim suit to work out on a dark cold morning. When I am alone, I don’t deal with the tension of “fitting it all in”, I can complete a thought, start a project and finish it maybe before I have to clean it up before company. I don’t have to worry if my jeans are little snug, because, well, I can wear my stretchy work clothes. I don’t have to worry about not saying the “right thing” because I am not saying anything. I can just relax.
But like anything, it gets to be a habit and I get sloppy. The sloppier I get, the more unproductive I feel. I know that I am getting lazy. I am becoming the sloth. And I am getting a little depressed but the thought of getting out is harder than the weeks before lock down. “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep..(Proverbs 19:15)My thoughts make more sense in their lack of precision because I don’t have to organize them for someone else to refine. I get a little more self absorbed. Love is becoming an theory for other people not an action for me.
Relationships take work. One also gets bumped bruised and loses oneself in the process. It’s like the fingerprint. My finger prints are getting less and less distinctive. My parents hardly have finger prints at all. Yes, they are very hard workers, unlike someone who has a disablity where they cannot use their hands. Most likely they will have distinctive fingerprints yet. My parents have full and rich lives with a lot of adventures and great memories and plans.
I have to push myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t wait until I feel like it or until it’s safe. There is always an element of the unknown and danger in a broken world, but it’s really not as bad as what the media can imply. Besides the more I do the more empowered I am to be a part of the community and influence for the good.
If you haven’t been connecting with people start small. Maybe a phone call today, a coffee date tomorrow or a walk on the next nice day.
The other part of flourishing in a community of two is not taking for granted the community you have with that one person you have in your home if you are an empty nester, or just have a small household of people. More and more people live like strangers and don’t even practice hospitality with those they live with. Make meal times special. Eat togther. Try new dishes. So what if it doesn’t turn out. No one will starve and next time it will be easier. Cook together and clean up together. No one ever died while filling the dishwasher or clearing their plate. Do a little project together. Plant flowers. Read books and then share interesting parts with eachother. Do music together. Pray together. Plan outings – even during the Covid crisis people could go for little walks- now that we are getting used to it – now more than ever get out and walk.
Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered, there I am also…” Such simple words, yet so powerful for an abudant life close to God.