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.”
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?