I live in a community where – by necessity – “within walking distance” is an essential factor. That cannot help but create both a sense and a functional reality of community that most folks haven’t experienced since the 60’s. For 25 hours each week, nobody drives – in fact, nothing more powerful than a tricycle is seen on the street. Kids play in the street. Families have complicated plans – who they’ll be with for lunch, who they’ll drop in on during the afternoon, who to meet up with for a class or lecture, and so on.
Or at least, we DID have those plans. Not any more.
While it’s hard to look at this change as anything but negative, I want to adhere to the “Accentuate the Positive” theme. Where possible, we’ve found our way around the risks and dangers.
We visit, but from a distance: from porch to driveway; from sidewalk-to-sidewalk across the street. From backyard to backyard. Our conversations are necessarily louder, and thus more inclusive. The yard-to-yard chat expands across the street, and to the houses on either side.
We study texts alone, but carry our insights and questions with us to the regular weekday, when we can jump on a phone or zoom call to compare notes.
We pray alone, which is incredibly contrary to both our habit and our guidelines, but which we do knowing we’re upholding the commanded not to put others’ lives at risk.