From Dog Park to Dance

In my limited trips to the grocery store, I have witnessed Social Distancing. The body language of this new phenomenon at first reminded me of the dog park. Shy dogs give aggressive dogs a wide berth. In this metaphor, we are the shy dogs. The aggressive dog is a nut-case chihuahua-like virus, desperate to attack us.

Last Sunday, I read this quote from Rabbi Yosef Kanesky:

One of the terms that has entered our daily conversation is “social distancing”. It is shorthand, as we know very well, for the practical physical precautions that we all need to and must take in order to protect ourselves and others. I’d humbly suggest though, that we use the term itself sparingly, if at all.  Language is a powerful shaper of thinking. And the very last thing we need right now is a mindset of mutual distancing. We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise. It is obvious that “distancing” if misplaced or misunderstood, will take its toll not only upon our community’s strength and resiliency but upon the very integrity and meaning of our spiritual commitment. And who knows if it was for this time that we have committed ourselves to walk in God’s ways.

So that’s one way to reframe social distancing, using it as an inspiration for other forms of connection, to help us “walk in Love’s ways.”

But I also like what Fr. Tom Elewaut of the San Buenaventura Mission shared. “We’re redefining social distancing as social generosity,” he said. “It’s another way we can take care of each other.”

When I look at social distancing through the lens of generosity it moves from dog park to dance.  Keeping our distance is a dance of respect where we care deeply for the perceived other.   What a paradox: moving apart actually draws us closer.

What happens when you think of social distancing as social generosity?

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8 Responses to From Dog Park to Dance

  1. Bill kohut says:

    Social distancing is making me more aware of others and seeing them in a different light. They are no longer invisible. I smile more, wave more and greet more. It’s something that I’ll carry with me after this madness is over.


    • Bonnie says:

      So true Bill. Thank you for sharing this. Love, Bonnie


    • Brenda Bramel says:

      I’m with Bill! I have been walking for many miles in the last two weeks and now I SEE people. I nod, wave, say hello, to just about everyone I pass. We are all no longer invisible to each other. (I live in Minnesota and weather has been warming so more people are getting out). My 16 year old daughter is upstairs writing letters and making art for people. Tomorrow she is making cookies to give away. I think social generosity is taking a hold in our society and that is a positive side to all of this.


  2. Lynne Barnes says:

    Thank Bonnie for your support and inspirational words. My beach walks are full of waving and kind words. People are being more kind these days of stress. That’s the good coming out of the not so good.🌊💙


  3. Judith Patricia Pando says:

    I have run across several nut-case chihuahuas over my time visiting people in their homes. They remind me of my ego and worrying self in that they think they are protecting something. Maybe they are and maybe I need to give them all generous distancing, especially now. Looking to see this all in a different way.


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