What is Community?
What is community? When the pandemic crashed into our lives in 2020, it brought that question into sharp focus for me.
Before the lockdowns began, I sensed that something was missing for me in terms of community. But busyness kept me from fully exploring it. For many of us, community happens when we run into people at work, social events, and kids’ activities. As we go about our packed schedules, we run into other people and interact socially…until Covid. Suddenly seeing people was no longer the norm. Even for those who continued to see people at work, masks and social distancing made a huge impact. I don’t know about you, but I have gained a new and profound appreciation for socializing!
Busyness = Disconnection
Before the pandemic, my crazy schedule kept me disconnected from myself, my family and friends. There was no time or energy leftover to truly know someone, or be known. Half the time, I didn’t even know how I was doing! When the lockdown began, I thought, “Good! Now that I’m not busy, I will finally connect with people at a deeper level.” But I found myself struggling to actually pick up the phone and call people and very few people were calling me either. I started evaluating my community and the depth of my relationships. The truth is I have become passive in building true connection with people, using social media as an easier but counterfeit form of community.
Social Media = Social Distance
Throughout the pandemic, I have noticed how easy and convenient it is to remain relationally distant. It has been way too easy to limit myself to online community. In spite of the many advantages of social media, it doesn’t offer heart to heart connection. The convenience of interacting from a distance means I don’t have to take an emotional risk. The isolation I experienced in lockdown was an opportunity for me to change that. I did take a few risks…I reached out in ways that were uncomfortable for me. ‘Strange Times’ is the result of many, many risks over the course of 2020 into 2021. (Hear it here: https://christinepaddock.com/tour/). In my personal life, I was able to draw closer to people via phone calls and video chats. When social distancing ends (please let it end!), I want to continue to push forward into vulnerability and connect more deeply with myself and others.
How would you like to experience community? Do you long for deeper connection with people or do you prefer the safety of relating from a distance on social media? I would love to hear your thoughts. For myself, I want to build deeper connections in relationships, and spend less energy on busyness and events.