Separate, together

Remember a week ago, when our kids were in school and we were carrying on with reckless behavior, like chatting over coffee or holding the door for strangers. Everything has changed, and in the past week the nation has quietly walked inside and closed their doors.

(And then there are people who aren’t staying home. If you’re one of those people, I invite you to Google: “should I stay home?”)

I keep hearing stories from different perspectives. We are only a few days into this nationwide quarantine, and there are so many stories. Graduations cancelled, weddings postponed, sparsely attended funerals, deployments extended. Think about the most special days or important plans you have had in your life. For someone, somewhere, that thing was happening in the next two weeks. And it’s cancelled.

What has emerged so quickly is proof that we are a people created for relationship. The pain of being cut off from others is not only inconvenient, it is deep and painful. Everything we do is possible, special, and worth doing because of other people.

We feel it acutely even in this age where we can have anything delivered to our doorstep, we can get medical care virtually, and we can video chat with friends and family without inconvenience or cost. None of it is the same as sharing space, shaking hands.

A friend of ours encouraged Tom and me to use this time to consider people who live lives in isolation — the lonely, incarcerated, the chronically-ill, the mentally-ill.

The discomfort and desire for contact we are feeling is a reminder to pray for people who effectively live their lives in quarantine.

It’s strange to think that the most caring thing we can do is to stay away from each other. My current Instagram and Facebook feeds are flooded with ideas for how to occupy kids at home, and I saw the idea to make cards for people in nursing homes who cannot have visitors. It’s perfect, bringing together kids who need to be busy and the isolated elderly who could use encouragement. It’s a simple, brilliant idea, and I believe gestures like that are what will get us through this time of isolation.

We’re not used to this, but we can do it. We can connect without touching. We can love our neighbors by checking in, but staying away. We can do it; we can figure it out. People in Italy are doing aerobics on their balconies and singing from their windows. Even when we are apart, people who were created to be in relationship will find a way to come together.

My family will be home, with almost no exceptions. But we are also looking for ways to stay connected. There are a lot of needs, and as many stories of cancelled plans there are stories of people sharing their gifts for the greater good.

We’ll get through it, together.



  1. Paris March 16, 2020

    Nice post! This is so true! Let’s continue to check on each other! Our world needs encouragement.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. It has been quite an adjustment for us all. Social Distancing is important and I too encourage people to google “should I stay home”.

  3. Chelsea Pearl March 17, 2020

    Well said! Really puts everything into perspective. I grew up with a terminally ill parent who had a compromised immune system, so I am remembering a lot of what my family had to do to protect them. We really all have to do our part!

  4. Maria March 17, 2020

    Well put, I am staying home currently, but my husband is a health care worker. Every day he is taking extra precautions to stay safe during this time and reduce the risk of spreading anything to others.

  5. Gee March 17, 2020

    Social Distancing is important and compulsion on current situation. Hope everything will be normal in few weeks.

  6. Kasey Ma March 18, 2020

    This is so important! I agree that social distancing is best, but I also feel bad for all the people and students whose lives are basically canceled.

    Kasey Ma


  7. Danielle March 18, 2020

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think that everyone needs to google “should I stay home”

  8. Erin March 19, 2020

    Staying connected from afar takes more effort but can be done! Stay healthy mama


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