Perhaps you remember the old Peter and Gordon tune:
“Please lock me away, and don’t allow the day
here inside where I hide with my loneliness.
I don’t care what they say I won’t stay in a world without love.”
Well, Covid-19 has taken its shot at doing that; but not fully successfully.
Most of us can tell stories of how caring still happens during lockdown days.
Some of us have discovered how that happens in new ways,
have made some new friends, or deepened former acquaintances,
or become more deeply bonded with loved ones.
But it hasn’t been easy either: keeping social distance,
refraining from touch unless we’re in a safe space at home,
washing hands after every public outing,
scrubbing surfaces at home and in our vehicles.
Those who are still going to work are constantly sanitizing their workplace.
And then, wearing masks in public. Who can tell us apart from bank-robbers?
It won’t end all that soon.
We may all be taking health precautions for a long while yet.
Just because a vaccine may be found and available,
just because we can assemble in larger groups again,
doesn’t mean everyone will feel safe from infection.
I suppose we might be wise to start practising now:
learning to bow respectfully when we greet one another
instead of shaking hands;
training our eyes and smiles to say “Hello” in genuine ways
that aren’t “suggestive” or threatening;
if we dare to offer hugs, always asking for permission,
or maybe we will just gently pelt one another with water balloons.
I don’t know what people will do differently
in cultures where kissing has been a common way of greeting.
As the Covid-19 curve flattens, as the risks dissipate,
as more green lights are given for social inter-actions again,
we will re-emerge into a world where love still exists.
But it will be awkward and weird for a while as we adjust
and pass through times of transition.
The manners and ways in which we express affection
and exchange greetings will be different,
out of necessity, out of respect. But that too is love.
Yet somehow, the embrace of God’s love will be a constant for everyone.