In one word: perspective.
Simple as that. Perspective changes everything.
If you’re looking at a diamond reflecting a beam of light, it sparkles. But someone standing 6 feet away won’t see those same reflections, and might think they’re looking at a piece of worthless rock.
Sometimes we’re just too close to see things as we need to see them. Too close to our money. Too close to our dreams. Too close to our own circumstances. Too close to our mistakes or disappointments. Too close to our successes.
Even too close to other people. Like the infatuation of two middle schoolers feeling like they’ve found their mate for life. They’re inseparable. Every time they pick up their phone it’s a message to or from each other. As if nobody else matters.
Their parents know better. Life experience has taught them to take a step back and get perspective. Sure, this takes some time. And it creates space. This is often good for us.
What are we not seeing? Who else matters? How are we making this something it is not?
Social distancing has forced us to take a step back from others. This can be a challenge for our social life, enjoying Easter dinner with our family, or roaming the aisles of Walmart. It also gives us some new perspective.
Backing away from others helps us see them in new ways. Appreciate their circumstances. Understand what they’re going through.
While we may not be there with them physically, something even better can happen. We can come closer to them relationally.
One of Jesus’ good friends name Lazarus became deathly ill, and his sisters got word to Jesus about it. He didn’t power walk the express route to go see Lazarus and heal him. He remained socially distanced. And Lazarus died.
“I am glad I was not there,” Jesus told his disciples. “So that you may believe. But let us go to him” (John 11:15). And they did. Then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and taught his disciples a valuable lesson about faith, friendship and the power of an Easter celebration still echoing in our world this week.
Social distancing can create new opportunities for Jesus to do his work still today. What does he want to teach you about your faith and how you can better understand others?
As you back up, you might find that you see others more clearly. And love them more powerfully.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, you distanced yourself from your friend in order to give him a new life. As we struggle with social distancing, open our eyes of faith to a new perspective that sees others more clearly. And loves them more powerfully. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Blogger Cameron Bellm wrote this Prayer for a Pandemic that focuses on our understanding and appreciation of others during this time.
May we, who are merely inconvenienced,
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we, who have no risk factors,
remember those most vulnerable.
May we, who have the luxury of working from home,
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we, who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close,
remember those who have no options.
May we, who have to cancel our trips,
remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we, who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market,
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we, who settle in for a quarantine at home,
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.