As I come to the end of my COVID isolation, I am itching to rejoin society. I have missed the little things I usually grumble about, like going to work and running to the store. I really miss my sense of taste and smell. But what I miss most is being able to interact with people.
I am an outgoing introvert. That means I can hold my own in a social setting, but I need quiet and solitude to recharge my batteries. Between career and family life, quiet and solitude are usually in short supply. Hence, I was surprised by how discouraging and depressing I found isolation. Despite being able to zoom and face time, I felt the void of human interaction.
God created us as relational beings who need one another to thrive. There’s a little ode by Harry O’Malley that says, “People need people. To give hugs and to cuddle. Times when we struggle. To be happy and have fun, playing in the sun. People will always need people.” I think Harry nailed it with that one. We really do need each other.
Sadly, between the pandemic and politics, we have found far more reasons to stay apart than to work toward unity. Nowadays, it’s easy to isolate yourself and create your own reality by selectively choosing what you watch and hear. Anything that opposes your opinion becomes the enemy.
This is dangerous to us on so many levels! Galatians 5:15 reads, “Why all this vicious gnawing on each other? If you are not careful, you will find you’ve eaten each other alive!!” I believe we are in jeopardy of that happening.
When I took over as Director of Caring Counseling Ministries, I knew the only shot I had at leading well was to surround myself with bright, knowledgeable people who brought their life experiences to the table. My Board is comprised of people from varying businesses, denominations, races, and political parties. I promise you CCM would not be weathering the challenges of COVID if it weren’t for their ideas and willingness to set aside differences to work for the common good of the community. They respect each other and have discovered that their love for Jesus and the community makes them friends and allies despite their dissimilarities.
If CCM can do this, anyone can. All it takes is an open mind and a keen eye set on discovering what we have in common instead of what drives us apart. It also takes humility and a readiness to admit you may not know everything, after all. Honestly, people seeing things differently is part of the reason why people need people.
Folks, as I reenter society, I am doubling down on my goal to share the love of Jesus with everyone I meet. I don’t care how they vote, date, whether they are wearing a facemask, or even if they are vaccinated. All I care about is that God loves them, and that’s good enough for me. After all, isn’t that what we all have in common?