How can I cope with Covid-19 isolation?
Nine months into this thing now and winter is fast approaching—for many the most isolating season of all. Forecasters of a second wave were correct, and many now fear unbridled Christmas and New Year celebrations will create overwhelming numbers of “super spreader” events triggering a massive spread of the virus. The only safety is further self-isolation.
But are we still up for it? A degree of solitude can be uplifting… an adventure in self-exploration… an opportunity for spiritual growth. But It will never do as a lifestyle. Our Creator agrees. After creating the prototype of homo-sapiens He stood back, looked deeply and said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Gen. 2:18).
Christians especially need this fellowship with other believers. Already we are a people become foreigners in this world, “strangers and pilgrims,” (1 Pet. 2:11; Heb. 11:13), “exiles” say some translations. Covid-19 has made many believers become like St. John on Patmos: exiles in isolation.
Bonhoeffer sees value in community but also in solitude. He writes,
“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.”*
Within this Christian community Bonhoeffer holds that each believer has a duty to his brother:
“The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them….” / “We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them… So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to ‘offer’ something when they are together with other people… They forget that listening can be a greater service”*
Scripture teaches likewise: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2). “Love your neighbor as yourself,” commanded Christ. Loving God and loving others fulfills all the Law and the teaching of the Prophets (see Matt. 22:37-40).
Do this and you will be surprised how your own coping during Covid is strengthened.
It is a great paradox of the Christian life that by giving we receive.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.