I could go the rest of my life without being told to "social distance," and I'm an introvert.
I've lived for over a year as if I were radioactive—and as if every other breathing human on the planet might be, too.
I've watched an entire season of football on television with fake crowd noise piped in; sacrificed face-to-face gatherings for squares on a computer screen (at least our edges can touch there!); done everything from worship to doctor's exams virtually. My favorite moment of the great sequestering came when my family physician asked me to try to remain positive and stop eating so my A1C would hang in there!
Here's what I know for certain after 14 months of forced solitude. We're better together. All of us. Those of us who like each other, and those of who who don't. Friends and strangers. Colleagues and classmates. Neighbors and relatives. Congregants and caretakers. We're made to mix it up for our own good and for the glory of God, and I believe it pleases him when we do.
Jesus gathered people. Small groups. Large groups. Enemies and friends. He got right in there with them, shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye. On hillsides. In the temple. In homes. Around tables. In gardens and fishing boats. At weddings and funerals. His last gathering was a dinner he planned from beginning to end—and when it was done he promised not to do it again until all those he loved could join him.
These days, when I open my individually packaged and hermetically sealed wafer and cup six feet from any other human (and don't get me wrong—it's better than nothing), I wish like I never have before for that coming feast.
I imagine the faces of ones I've said my last goodbye to, the sounds of their laughter and the hugs and the tears—and the face of the One I've loved since I was small. I'll know him in a heartbeat because I've known him all along, and his embrace will be the antidote to distance forever. We're better together. We always have been.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20