I know this time of social distancing and corona virus is difficult and it is for so many people in many different ways. One of the most noticeable is the falling of the stock market and the economy, lack of jobs and a huge increase of unemployment. We keep saying that this time in human history is completely unprecedented, and I think that in may ways it is. There is this virus that is forcing us to stay in our homes and hunker down, it is causing us to fear doing normal things, and it is causing a downfall in many ways that most people have never seen before. This is enveloping the whole world.
The closest thing that this time can be compared to, at least when it comes to the United States economy, is the Great Depression. This is the time following the Stock Market crash, and runs on banks, and time of hardship for the American people. Some of the few people left that lived during that time, are now some of those most at risk to the coronavirus and they are being isolated to their homes or their rooms at nursing homes; often without seeing their family. Some of those left are my great-grandparents. You have heard about them before when I wrote about their sweet love story! But, they recently shared their views about this time of isolation, saying that this is worse than the Great Depression. And that hit me really hard.
Let us look at how important community is to helping us through the difficult times, and that is what they were meaning. The world may be falling a part again, but we do not have the in person social interaction to build us up, and be there for us. Although we have significantly more technology right now to keep us connected, it just can not make up for the difference of true in-person social interaction.
This made me think of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie takes place during the Great Depression and it goes into the struggles and mental health around it. However, even in this struggle that many people related to in the character of George Bailey, the main thing that brought him out of this was the care, love, and interaction of his community and other people.
It is difficult to think that now, not only do we have some of the economic distress, but we have also lost some of the things that make it more joyful to get through life. Right now, I am starting to get frustrated with quarantine and the lack of community around it. My extraverted self is missing going to church, having small group in my home and in-person (I am missing hosting), meeting up with people one on one, hugs, and meeting new people .
However, this all isn’t to say that this time hasn’t been good in some ways of community. COVID-19 has forced different ways of communicating. We all seem to have more time with social distancing, and so instead of in-person coffee dates we have FaceTime calls and text messages. I have been more intentional in this time to reach out to my common community, my grandparents, and to people I haven’t talked to in a while. It is good to check in and let people know that they are loved. With this time, I have also found it wonderful to write handwritten notes to people, especially my great-grandparents in the nursing home so they can reread it and know that they are loved.
This season maybe unprecedented, worse than the Great Depression in some ways, and just lonely and uncertain. Our community may also look different in this season, and I may be anxiously awaiting the return of in-person community, but in the mean time let’s keep the community up in the ways that we can.
This too shall pass