Admittedly, isolating at home in the spring of 2020 didn’t bother me too much at first. I didn’t realize how busy my life had become until it suddenly wasn’t and, honestly, I needed a break from all the hustle and bustle.
Late that summer I had a book release and by then I was starting to see the drawbacks of such intense social separation. Most of us live with expectations about the future based on what we’ve planned or prepared for, or the way things should be under ordinary circumstances. Nothing about 2020 was ordinary, including book releases.
There was no launch party, no book signing at my local Barnes & Noble. Although books are written in isolation, these events in the past have allowed me to meet the readers I hoped for and imagined as I wrote. Personal feedback gives validation and meaning to the work. Events provide a chance to celebrate with family and friends who’ve supported me in the process — it’s one of my favorite things about book launches.
In 2021 I released a companion journal, but books stores hadn’t resumed book signings. A big event where I’d hoped to share these books with a target audience took place virtually instead of in person for the second year in a row. Longed for hopes and dreams seemed to dry up and disappear. When the expectations I’d held didn’t line up with the reality I faced, it affected me. I lost my footing. I started to forget why God called me to my particular work, why it all mattered anyway.
Fast forward to this year when I was able to attend an in-person convention and finally share my books face-to-face. It made me realize how much I needed to connect with people — personally, professionally, and creatively. I needed to talk to real people and remind myself why, and for whom, I write; it renewed my commitment to serve my readers. I needed to surround myself with people who share my interests and to hear their stories. I needed meaningful conversations with strangers I encountered in airports and on planes. I need social interaction beyond the four walls of my house and Sunday morning services.
Recently my husband and I traveled out of state to witness a couple from church renew their vows. A few of us stayed at the same hotel and had a delightful overnight trip. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we committed to getting together more often outside of church. We joked about who would be the next couple to renew their vows so we could plan another trip.
Text chats are great for prayer requests, but they can never replace hugs and handshakes.
It can become a problem when we remain isolated from the world for too long. The Christian life is lived most fully in community. The embodiment of Biblical characteristics like love, mercy, compassion, and generosity naturally requires a recipient.
These days so much of the world has gone virtual. Sometimes that can be a good thing: I certainly don’t mind the shorter lines at the Department of Driver Services! But telecommuting, distance learning, or meeting over Zoom instead of around a table physically removes our bodies from our experiences.
God is relational and practical Christianity hinges on community. We weren’t intended to merely interact with avatars on a screen. We were designed for flesh and blood relationships. Being around people reminds us of who we are and who we want to be. It’s one thing to admire particular character traits and behaviors, but it’s another to live them out among others.
Do you feel the effects of too much isolation? Invite a neighbor over for brunch or to check out a new restaurant. Meet an old friend for an afternoon movie. Join a book club or a Bible study with people who share your interests. Visit someone who isn’t able to get out and see others.
I want to thrive in the sweet spot between hustle and bustle and social separation. Are you with me?
A Big AMEN
Dawn Camp says
Thanks, Madeline! I’m taking my own advice today and having lunch with a friend today. Blessings to you!
what do you do if you have family and friends that are afraid to go out in public due to the virus?
Dawn Camp says
Chrisitine, I’m so sorry. That’s hard. Maybe go to them and also start slow with outdoor activities like parks and picnics. Hopefully it won’t take long before they feel comfortable again.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Dawn thank you for sharing this. Yes only I had to during those time you write about during the Pandemic. Go visit my Dad to help him with things he can not do. As he is elderly. So me and my sister went one at time didn’t stay long when had things done we went home. When times were bad then. But people not saved or not well because of illness not Covid. Or other things. Family that couldn’t get to them then. As didn’t want to spread germs. Thoes times would have been very hard and the day very long form as they probably were on their own. That not nice it would have been hard on the Family as well as the person not seeing either. Knowing the family member not well. That is what really broke my heart in thoes time. It at the start doesn’t bother people who are well but it after a while gets to you. It can get you down. But if saved we have to remember God was there us to help through thoes times. Even for a saved person they were not easy. But you know what comes to mind I think about that time as saved person. Every day is the Lord’s we are to rejoice in it. As God made it. As Psalm 118 verse 24 says. Especially if saved. It says “This is the day the Lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it.” We are to do that no matter how hard it was then. I still say that Psalm verse even today. Way back then I said it and believed it like I do today. I also thanked God for another day to be alive in his beautiful world. No matter what was going on away back then. As I was thankful on to God to be alive and enjoy another day in his beautiful world and that God woke me up to enjoy it. I still felt for others saved and saved at thoes times and prayed for them especially if not we’ll not be cause of Covid or because of Covid back them. Or because of another sickness Family couldn’t get to them. That was hard and sad. Also because of people not able to work. Bill back then didn’t go away. They still had to be payed. I thank full my Husband was still working even though in his job only a few toilets open. They were open for people who wanted to go for a walk if well. As he cleans them for our local council. So we had his income to pay bills. But I prayed for those who couldn’t work because of it. The whole work closed. Their bill didn’t go away. But I prayed they if not saved and saved would trust God for everything. Like I did and said Ephesians 6:10-18 the Armour of God over us every day back then and Psalm 91 too. Plus trusted God to look after my Husband when out at work then and me at my Dad’s. Plus all other times during the day away back then. I still trust God today and so does my Husband. It was good to hear people like the sick and elderly had people give them food parcels in thoes day that because of it a had to stay in on thoes day. Couldn’t get out to buy food. Basics like Milk and bread. People provide all these things to help them. It was so lovely to see. People walking their dogs if had one. God was so good he provided lovely people like this to help people like this. Food banks also helped abs and still do today. They were all wonderful people saved or not saved God will bless them for this. Love you Neighbor as it says in the Bible. That what people like this did. I know God will bless them in his perfect timmimg. Some of these people are still doing this. Even though most things back to normal. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Dawn Camp says
Dawn, I’m glad you were able to look after your dad and your husband had work. Blessings to you!
Dawn Ferguson-Liitle says
Thank you Dawn for your kind reply means alot to me and really blesses me.
God bless and big hugs. Dawn Ferguson-Liitle xxx
d from Canada says
I am WITH You Dawn!
Dawn Camp says
You are so welcome! 🙂
I agree that how governments have mishandled these last couple of years have had a devastating impact on inter-personal relationships. However, as an introvert, I feel that there can sometimes be too much of an extrovert focus that overemphasises the importance of social interaction. The church tends to forget that half the population are introverts, possible because the leaders are usually extroverts. Can we please have something for us?
Dawn Camp says
Hello, Row! I think personal relationships are important for all of us. You might find going to lunch with a friend or inviting someone over for a one-on-one visit to be more comfortable. Blessings to you!
Beth Williams says
Isolating in 2020 didn’t bother me to much. It was nice to be able to just relax on Sunday after long work days in hospital. At first I would attend my husband’s family church. Got to know the people there & got involved some. Sometimes I watched Steven Furtick’s Elevation church. Then it hit me. I started to miss my people & their hugs. After summer we started having services again. It was good to get back to seeing my old friends again. Our little church was becoming even smaller in number during Covid. Some left the church & some were afraid to come. I guess they got used to staying home on Sundays. Isolation is not a good thing for Christians. We were definitely made for community. How else can we go into ALL the world & spread the gospel If not for community & being with others?