Social Distance

“I will bless the Lord who guides me, even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. ” Psalm 16:7-8

“As you are exiting the plane please give space between passengers to create social distance to keep everyone safe.”

Are you kidding me? If you have not traveled lately let me paint a picture of the world of air travel. Flights are full, terminals are packed – masks are worn but it is impossible to social distance. The words of the flight attendant came at the end of a 2 1/2 hour flight from Orlando to Kansas City. It was full – not one open seat. Let me remind you that there are not 6 inches between passengers let alone 6 feet. We had not social distanced for the entire trip. By the looks of my fellow passengers it was clear that many had enjoyed a spring break week with the mouse – you know the big guy – Mickey. Disney world is open, people are vacationing and the call for just essential travel is not being heeded. And to be totally honest – it felt really good. Mixing with strangers, walking through a full terminal, waiting in line for a coffee, listening to conversations about work or a theme park. Our need for connection with others, even strangers, has become abundantly clear over the last year. We were created for it. We were not meant to be alone.

This description may have some of you saying – “Whew – Im so glad things are feeling normal.” Others of you may be judging the decision of myself and others to partake in air travel when despite the progress we are making towards defeating this crazy virus – in many ways it is far from over. What I know from watching the ways my friends and family have responded to the events that have unfolded over the last year is that at some level we all believe we are right – despite our beliefs landing on opposite sides of the spectrum. The tension of living with people that hold strongly opposing opinions is real. It’s an understatement to say we are living in challenging times.

As I read the words to Psalm 16:7-8 I was comforted by the truth of one who has chosen to not play by the long list of rules during COVID times that sometimes feel like they change by the minute.

Social Distance

Masks required

Distance learning

Work from home

Curb side pick up

Arrows directing cart traffic for indoor shopping

Capacity limits

Outdoor dining

Canceled graduations. Canceled proms. Canceled sporting events. Cancel, cancel, cancel.

In a world where nothing feels stable, or reliable – I need to know that the man I call my Savior is also the greatest rebel of all time. The GOAT if you will.

Psalm 16 says it clearly:

I know the Lord is ALWAYS with me…

I will not be shaken because he is RIGHT beside me.

Always.

Right.

Always.

Close.

No social distance. Never canceling his appearances. Always showing up for the celebration, the restricted areas of the hospital, in dorm rooms, in classrooms, in restaurants. He has been and will be – everywhere we choose to ask him to come. Anywhere, anytime. His presence brings peace, and power and comfort. He brings truth and wisdom and discernment. He has not left the building, your home, your relationships, your work, or those of your children, your parents, your neighbors or your friends.

But….

I wonder if in the year of feeling like so much has been taken away, we feel like Jesus has too.

Maybe the loneliness that comes from separation from those we love has blocked our view of our Savior that has never left. Maybe the drained bank accounts from job loss, the obituary lists that grow, the anxiety that shows up in our choices to numb the pain have turned our eyes off of the one who is Right there,

Right.

There.

Always.

and our light grows dim. Hope feels lost.

Friends…. may I be the one that turns your face back,

Back… to the one who is sitting

Right beside you.

When our world shut down last March…. Jesus did not.

When we moved our kids home form college. When we shortened our guest lists for weddings. When our vacations turned to stay-cations. Jesus stood his ground – in our lives and in our hearts. He was not cancelled nor will he ever be. He is with us for the long haul. every step, of every day of every season.

The good.

The bad.

The ugly.

“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken for he is RIGHT beside me.

Always.

Right.

Today.

Orlando airport

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