An observation from my experience with the COVID restrictions is that that some of us may not be as well connected with others as we could be. With new found freedoms, as we moved down alert levels, I have noticed in some circles that I move in, that people have become more proactive in making connection.
Have you reflected on your level of connection with family and friends during this time? Do you desire more connection and fellowship with others? If so how have you modified your lifestyle?
Here are some observations I have made:
Where group gathering restrictions allow, there appears to be more people attending church. Could this be a result of personal evaluations that once a month or bi-monthly church commitment isn’t as satisfying as it was previously?
I belong to a cycling group that has a social focus, with the benefit of exercise thrown in. Group rides are planned for a Saturday and a Wednesday. Recently the weather had been unfavourable on Wednesdays resulting in a four-week cancellation of rides. So the group was hungry for connection and fellowship. That group decided to meet without a ride, at a café for the compulsory café Wednesday lunch break (with appropriate physical distancing in place).
My wife runs a SPACE group for new mums for the first nine months of a new-born’s life. Her most recent group that stopped pre-lockdown has now joined a playgroup at the church virtually to continue the connection established at the SPACE meetings.
I belong to the silver-haired retirement brigade and I have noticed that many people entering retirement are very active in establishing new groups of connection, to make up for lost work connections, which is great to see. I am sure there is another side of the equation with those I don’t see, who retire without making new connections and so by default their isolation increases. If you are joining, or soon to join, the silver-haired brigade I suggest you become active in pre-retirement by establishing plans of new activities and groups to join. If you are not in that age group I suggest you look at your relational connections anyway.
As a general rule men are not always good at connecting with others. Connection with others can be made in a wide range of groups whether they are focused on sport, fitness, charity works, special interest, church, hobbies etc. We all need to be connected for social wellbeing and I recommend being connected to at least one group that will develop you spiritually.
Dare I ask it… are you connected with a group of men spiritually who will support you and encourage you in your growth as a spiritual leader in your role as a father, son, employer, employee, husband or friend? While connection with men in a non-spiritual setting is great and important, to be balanced and well-adjusted it is desirable to experience both regularly.
Now maybe the time to look at all your relationships and see how they are going. Revisit your thoughts and resolutions from the first lockdown. Have they been put into action yet?
I encourage you to choose connection!