Virtual relationships

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Then the Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18

Aside from the devastating consequences of sickness and death that this pandemic has wreaked on the world is something even more widespread that has affected us all, and that is the isolation that has been the result of protecting ourselves and others from the spread of the virus. There is a long-term effect to this that may not always be obvious, but it nevertheless is there.

We’re not hugging; we’re not meeting for lunch; A.A. meetings are shut down; church is virtual; shopping has gone online; heck, we hardly ever even see our neighbors; we’re just not getting out. We’re overworking our delivery services in order to stay safe. The result of this for some is long periods of loneliness.

This means different things to different people depending on whether you are an outgoing, gregarious person or a more singular, independent one. The latter may not even notice the change, because they thrive on having their own time to themselves anyway (I know all about this.) In fact, they might welcome having an excuse for the isolation they would choose anyway. Still, isolation, in the long term, can never be good for anyone.

So what do we do? We get creative. We discover the value of virtual relationships.

I just spent an hour this morning with two of our Vanguard members on zoom. Normally a Bible study, we turned our hour today into sharing and prayer, and apart from the touching, there was nothing I missed from being together in person. It was no different from finding ourselves in someone’s living room or around the lunch table. We laughed; we cried; we prayed; and we felt the touch in our hearts, if not in a hug or a handshake. It’s unfortunate that this is what we get, but it’s closer to being together in person than you think.

Because, you see, these relationships, though virtual, are no less real. This is important. These are real relationships supported by various technologies whether Zoom, or FaceTime, or Skype, or even Facebook, email, text and phone — all of these support real relationships in real time. And what do you think? Is the Holy Spirit present too? Of course. Wherever we are, there is the Holy Spirit. How could God possibly be more limited than we are?

And be conscious of connecting to those who might not have the Holy Spirit yet. This is where the internet is a great tool. We can be one-on-one with any number of people. That’s what we count on here at the Catch — being one-on-one with thousands.

As God concluded after creating Adam, it is not good for man to be alone. And that goes for all of us, male and female. Figure it out. There is much we can do. Who knows? Maybe you can take your relationships deeper than you could in person. There’s a little built-in protection in the computer screen; in some cases, it may be even easier to open your heart.

So this isolation can and must be overcome. If we don’t overcome this, then we let the devil (who some think caused this virus in the first place) win. And who wants to do that?

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4 Responses to Virtual relationships

  1. Roberta says:

    God has always related to us virtually. If I cease my relationship/communication with God, we mutually feel distanced. God is still there but we have stepped away. It’s our loss and God’s loss as well.

  2. Squirrel!

    Man, John, you gave me a temporary case of whiplash!
    Here we all were, starting off the week reminiscing about songs sung during politically turbulent times, developing a diverse playlist of music to address our current days, sharing inspiring and reasoned thoughts as how to move forward together in a more gracious manner with clarity of mind, humility of heart, and service to others as we forge ahead into a new national and global era.

    Then, yesterday, we suddenly veer off that road, take a sharp right, and amble down the frequently-travelled arterial of “Virtual relationships.”
    Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you, but it seemed like we were getting into a pretty good groove on the “topic of the week” and then we took a virtual detour – at least it seemed that way to me.
    Have to confess: it was kind of anti-climactic. I was hoping we’d finish this week on the same theme with which we started, especially since it was a week unlike most others.

    SO, before the highway we started on at the beginning of the week fades away into our rearview mirror, I want to make a quick pit stop at the next rest area and add one more song to that playlist of music that we were all be-bopping to when we hit the road earlier this week. The perennial classic by Ray Stevens, “Everything is Beautiful”:

    Watch out for them…
    …Squirrels!!

    Shalom, Peace…
    🙂

  3. Peter Leenheer says:

    I agree with you Bob about the whiplash. John must have had a good reason for it.

    Roberta thank you for that very insightful comment. In Genesis3:8,9 God is looking for Adam and Eve who are hiding because they have sinned. God calls to them, “Where are you?” This has been God’s cry throughout history. We have established too many distancing protocols from God. This has hurt him deeply, yet He sent Jesus to save this world from sin. Despite the virtual relationship, He has made it work until full restoration.
    So to my mind this pandemic has shown me many things good and bad, but never did it occur to me that God is also communicating His pain in separation by letting us experience some of our own. It often takes pain for us to understand that God desires our love.
    I have told Him. God I am here. Please come and be with me!!! I love you!!

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