Community in the Year of the Virus
For us, connections with others are an important part of our lives, and we’ve been made freshly aware of that because the stay-at-home regime has stopped us from meeting face-to-face with people. No more walks, meals or movies with friends. No more meetings of our writing group.
But 21st century technology provides all sorts of video alternatives, and it seems that we’ve been connecting with people more than ever, both regulars and people dispersed across miles and years.
We’ve been attending meetings via Zoom that we might not have attended. They are a mixture of people we know and people we don’t, and as geography is no longer a factor, people from all over are there.
Maude attended a spiritual gathering once a week, hosting it every other week at our house before the changes came. Now this group meets online and many of the folks who attended through the years but had moved away are participating again from Canada, Hawaii and other far-flung locations.
We belong to several writing and publishing groups that are now all meeting online. Another local writers’ group started a weekly zoom meeting in conjunction with a local arts center. In it, writers are sharing their stories and essays to entertain and inform each other, and we’ll be reading there in a couple of weeks.
Staying at home has created a different sense of community #quote #relationships #coronavirus Click To TweetThese meetings have given us a different sense of community. There is an intimacy in seeing other peoples’ rooms. Pets wander around in the background or demand attention. In some ways, it’s a more personal connection than face to face over breakfast.
We have been getting feedback from our readers on how much their sense of community has changed and grown in their present experiences. There is an appreciation for others growing out of the very fact of not being able to come together, at least not physically. People seem to have become so much more aware of the importance of relationships, near and far, and of the communities we are a part of.
Many people are reaching out to people and family from earlier parts of their lives; often people they have lost contact with or haven’t spoken to in years. Many have reported looking through old photos and then reaching out to those who were once dear.
Perhaps this is a result of a heightened awareness of mortality. We have become more aware of how dependent we are on each other and how important many of the services and the people who render them are to our daily survival and quality of life.
Besides meeting face-to-face, there are lots of things missing from our lives: going to the theater; walking on the bluffs; visiting the local library. But we don’t like to look at our lives in terms of what is missing. It is far more satisfying to see them as simply being different, and there is much changed that we appreciate. Cleaner air. Quieter streets. Birdsong. Springtime. Add to that, a heightened sense of community.
Our personal experience has taught us that the most critical element for having this awareness and appreciation is to stay present with whatever is happening; not to spend time wishing things were different or how they used to be, but actually being present with how they are. In the moment of now, we can savor every connection, each meeting with old and new friends, and share our stories in a way that we can all inspire and comfort each other. We are truly becoming aware of our communities and the importance and value they have to us.
Photo credit: Maude Mayes