BEYOND PHYSICAL DISTANCING:
Yes, we must gradually & purposefully move toward re-opening businesses, services, etc. Nobody disagrees with moving beyond physical distancing. Political distancing existed prior to COVID-19. As we all stepped into this unknown and frightening time, we turned toward one another with concern and sensitivity. Now, as the pain increases (and as varied interests and sectors feel the pinch) the familiar political distancing culture is resurfacing as loud voices scream and shout divisive messages at those who cannot be bullied. Let us do what we can to create a new world by turning toward one another with concern and sensitivity as we re-enter this next month or two of transition. Let us consider the health-care professionals, first-responders, grocers, elderly, dialysis and chemo patients, custodians, postal workers, delivery persons, garbage haulers, impoverished families without a food pantry or health-insurance, the homeless shelter workers, the social workers and others who’ve had no break amidst this anxiety – and their families – who have actually carried exponential stress without any breaks.
Many of you know the Hebrew word for compassion, (rachamim) comes from rechem, meaning ‘womb.’ Compassion is creating space within ourselves so we can carry another person for the sole purpose of giving new life – investing in a new world.
Let us never discount the cumulative impact small acts of concern and sensitivity can make in people’s lives. When we create space within ourselves so we can move beyond disparity, competition, and self-absorption, we are empowered to nurture new life. Through concern and sensitivity, we invest in life-giving power. This is a divine partnership in creative transformation and redemption. As we move beyond physical distancing, let us remake the nature of physical closeness.