I have struggled with social distancing, but not for the reasons you might think. I thrive in global community, whether offline or online. Whether I am at home or whether I am out and about, I am always in communication with those I know or care about around the country and around the world. My friends and those in my network internationally can attest to this. So, I have struggled, but not because of a lack of human connection. I have never lost or not had human connection, whether it’s in person, face-to-face, or on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, GroupMe, Messenger, or other social networking or messaging platforms.
I have struggled with social distancing, because during the heights of the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been in the process of moving to a new state and starting a new phase of my life professionally and in every way. I have found the most wonderful home with the most amazing view that caresses my soul. I couldn’t do it alone, and so I have had movers and helpers.
So I have struggled with social distancing, because I couldn’t do it alone. Yet what I learned from the moving experience was unexpected. For many of you, this might be commonplace, and for others of you, this might still be new for you, but I know that what I will describe in these next few sentences will resonate with all of you.
As more and more of my stuff was unloaded from the moving truck and brought into the house that was somewhat empty but perfect on its own, I became more and more overwhelmed with having to unpack all these boxes and determine where things should go. Even though I had help from the movers and from other helpers, it was utterly overwhelming. I looked around at all my things and I realized that it was time to let go. The lamps that got me through undergraduate, graduate, and medical training didn’t need to stay with me for their effect to be eternal. The papers that I have read or composed in the decades of my life don’t need to physically stay with me for their impression on my own mind and the hearts of others to last. None of these items needed to stay with me for me to know that with life’s ebbs and flows resides hope for humanity.
It is this sense of being human and of having the internal elements that make us human, and being confident that no physical item that has ever been useful to us in our lives can ever take our humanity away — that is what I appreciate most about social distancing. You see, even when we are distant from each other physically, when we don’t get to physically touch each other or sit next to each other, or gaze into each other’s eyes, this doesn’t take away the impact we have on each other, or the resilience we gain together, nor the hope that we always share.
It is these intangible truths that bind us together as humans in global relationship with one another, fighting this pandemic in unity, that truly define our humanity. We all reside in each other’s hearts, minds, and lives, whether we realize it or not. No pandemic, epidemic, nor endemic situation or circumstance can truly separate us from one another.
We are all journeying individually, separate, yet together, with experiences unique yet similar. Together we can process, through writing, art, music, and other forms of creativity, leveraging technology. Walk in the sunshine, practice mindfulness, and virtually connect.
Our greatest treasures in life are not material substances, but jewels on the inside. Reach out and touch those jewels, nurture relationships all around you, with every bit of technology to which you have access, and even in the absence of technology, physical touch, or virtual communication. Reach down deep inside yourself and recognize what is most important in these times.
I believe you will agree with me that it is those elements that bring our souls strength, love, and peace that carry the most beauty.