Recently, I shared the story of moving my parents across the USA. Since then, I can no longer count the number of people I've heard from about similar stories of transformation and convergence.
So many have been affected by the mental and relational challenges of the pandemic. The isolation is such that nearly everyone's resilience resources are stretched to the edge. Even people with partners and families have been pressed to maintain a sense of connection with the upheaval of these times.
Add to this that so many of the activities we relied on for community and joy have not been available to us. Though we now have some hope with multiple vaccines available to combat the virus, it's been a long-haul year (and longer) for many of us.
When being alone is a choice, it can be a great asset. Some introverts thrive on finding “alone time”. But during the pandemic, these times of isolation have felt less like a choice and more like loneliness.
Much like my parents, families have found new ways to connect. Not everyone has moved across the country, but so many have found new options with Zoom taking the lead. I know couples who have found a deeper connection with each other and others who have parted from each other.
Everyone I know who cares about life has found a deepened appreciation for friends, relatives, homes, and neighborhoods. Gratitude and being real with oneself are valued in all the circles I'm part of. In conversation and experiences, I'm experiencing vulnerability personally and from my friends.
All of this is what I call convergence. Though the pandemic has been stressful and heartbreaking in too many respects, it has called we survivors into a converging community.
For some, this convergence has taken the form of family being geographically closer together. For others, the means of connection may be virtual (ranging from phones to video conferences), but the sense of relating is deeper than ever.
Art Imitates Life
Obviously, this convergence affects and inspires creativity. Art is finding new expressions. In fact, we had to use creativity to find ways to express our art with concerts and galleries shut down to slow the spread of the virus.
May we hold the story of this time powerfully in our memories. In this way, it can feed into a future full of this new-found appreciation. But most of all, that we would remain in this empowering state of convergence.