I entered my mom's apartment for the first time in six months. Social distancing laws regulating people in special memory care facilities had limited us to phone calls — most are unable to negotiate video calls. We were allowed in to see her, in her apartment, only because my stepfather, and her husband for nearly thirty years, had died. We helped her pack and then left on a trip out of town for the funeral.

After the funeral, we had a few outside visits with her that were monitored and socially distanced. We had to meet outside the facility on a porch and each visit was helpful but awkward and hard to explain. The separation and isolation have been very hard on her. Being unable to hug and hold our mom has been hard on us. Grieving the loss of a spouse in these conditions is brutal. Not being able to be there personally to help has felt cruel. Thankfully my brother and his wife were able to bring her to his house for Christmas. Afterward, however, she had to be quarantined from her friends and shared meals.

We forget that loneliness is an even greater pandemic than COVID-19 because of the isolation caused by social distancing while trying to protect everyone from the virus. Yes, some people flippantly have disregarded social distancing rules and spread the pandemic. However, others could not bear being away from people they love any longer — they needed a human connection with people they love. For them, enduring the isolation was a worse burden than the threat of contracting the virus. So, some ignored the warnings and broke protocol to re-connect with family and close friends!

You see, we were not created to be alone — to be distanced and disconnected from each other. God made us to be a "one anothering" and "each othering" kind of people! (Our "A One Another People" page has very helpful infographic on the one another passages in the Bible.)

The first installment of our new, short video series is called "From Creation to New Creation." James' first video reminds us that God seeks to redeem us by leading us "From Lonely to Connected" and it's a message we desperately need these days:

We are God-crafted people (Psalm 139:13-16) made in the image of God himself (Genesis 1:26-27). Just as God exists in fellowship with himself as Father, Son, and Spirit, we also were made to be a relationally connected kind of people. We need fellowship, companionship, partnership, and friendship!

So, let's do more than recognize the problem. Let's provide each other with some ideas to address this pandemic of loneliness. James' family started delivering boxes of donuts with notes. What are some other ideas? You can bless others by sharing your ideas to any of the following questions in our comment's section below:

We are made to be "one another" kinds of people!
What are some things we can do to overcome this isolation for ourselves?

  • What can we do to help those who are isolated know they are not alone during this time?
  • What have you done to help you feel more connected to God and others?
  • What have you done to serve, bless, and help others escape isolation?

Download the discussion guide for our whole series!