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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Sing to Unsung Heroes

Someone pounded on our front door. The dogs (Cujo and Satan) barked their heads off. I leapt off the couch where I was clipping Guinea Pig Hoss’s toenails. I tucked Hoss like a football and ran for the door. There on the front steps, was a small white bubble wrap envelope, a package from Amazon.

It wasn’t ours, it was for a neighbor. So I put down the Guinea Pig, slid out the crack of the door to avoid a dog lunge, picked up the package with two fingers to ward off germs, and ran in my pajamas after the delivery guy.

He stopped and looked at me. His eyes were weary over his regulation mask. “Wrong house,” I said.

“I am so sorry,” he replied.

“Oh my gosh,” I answered.   “No need to be sorry. You’re my hero.  Thank you for the hard work you do.”

He visibly relaxed. His eyes smiled and he got in his van to escort the package to its rightful home. And that was that.

The other day in church, I spoke about singing to unsung heroes as a strategy for coping with quarantine.

All day, I thought about that anonymous delivery guy, doing his best to meet peoples’ needs. Perhaps he’s supporting a family; or maybe putting himself through school. My thoughts about the Amazon guy rippled out to embrace other anonymous heroes – the people in our local grocery stores, the medical professionals, the parents keeping their children safe at home, members of our congregation who give and receive support so freely.

When we sing to unsung heroes, the unsung heroes sing a chorus of blessings back to us. Our heightened awareness of them magnifies the texture of grace that supports us even now.

Who are the unsung heroes in your life? Would you name at least one below and tell us why?

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Love Prevails

Dear Friends,

Last week, a small group of Center members dedicated to Kindness and Congregational Care met to discern community needs in this time of pandemic.

Three distinct categories emerged from our conversation:

  • Connection – We move beyond the limits of quarantine to connect. 
  • Support – We address physical needs, such as providing groceries and supplies.
  • Inspiration – We reveal Spiritual Truth beyond all conditions.  

As a caretaker of the inspiration piece of this vision, my role is to convey wisdom during Sunday Services; and to create a series of brief blog posts for subscribers and the Facebook community.

The title of the series is Love Prevails.

I encourage you to care for your soul by reading, pondering, and sharing your thoughts.  May our inspiration invite connection; may our connection invite inspiration.   

My first question for you: Do you have any spiritual concerns related to the pandemic that you would like us to address?


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