This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. It represents so many great memories with each of the people in it, most of whom were part of my crew, the E.B.C. We were close, like really close, so close it seemed that nothing would ever get in between us. But life has a funny way of creating space, distance, time. Of all of the people in my crew (pictured and un-pictured alike) I only routinely speak to three of them with any kind of regularity.
Before the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, the phrase ‘social distancing’ was an unknown one, or at least an unheard one. For the current situation it has it’s merits, and in no way am I minimizing that. But I can’t help but to think of it as a metaphor for our time, for this cultural moment we find ourselves in.
We live in a world more connected than ever before. A world where someone gets sick with a new strain of a virus and where schools and sporting events on the other side of the world are forced to be cancelled within only a few weeks time. A world where you can buy, sell and communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. A world with enough resources for all, but disproportionately controlled by the few. A world of haves and have nots. A globally connected world with dotted lines on a map meant to separate us from one another, to distinguish us as different and less or more than despite our new interconnectivity.
Occasionally I am reminded of a time long gone, when folks would invest more into the front yard and porches of their homes than the interior or backyards. They did so to connect with their neighbors. To look out for one another. To be there in times of need. Now days, we hardly have a porch or front yard. When we get home, we press a button in our car and a big door opens to the house that our car lives in, connected to the house we live in. After parking our cars, the big door closes behind us, shutting out our neighbors before we even come to a full stop. Our backyards are now places of refuge we invest in immensely, to hide from the world and the pressures it brings. We rely on social contact through screens more often than actual eyeball to eyeball, soul to soul connection… social distancing.
And look, I’m not here to suggest we bring back the days of kicking it on the front porch while sipping sweet tea and talking about everyone’s dirt. All I am advocating for is social engagement. My prayer during this cultural moment, the likes of which we have not seen in my day, is that while we heed the advice of the professionals in practicing social distancing, that it actually becomes a galvanizing force that unites us all together in a commitment to social engaging. Amen.
With love, your brother in the good fight, Clayton Krueger, a souldier.
P.S. Should this message reach any of my E.B.C. companions, please get in touch. I miss you.