To my friends still choosing to social distance, 

The world has moved on, but we are still there. In our homes, looking out the windows at the children playing in the street while ours sit inside waiting for the moment when we will say this is over.  That’s what it feels like sometimes, doesn’t it?

I wanted to talk to you for a minute because sometimes it’s lonely and sometimes it’s isolating, but here is what I want you to know—there are other people still inside. There are others who are choosing the same. 

We will sit outdoors with our friends and visit. We will go on walks and bike rides. We allow our children to see their friends outdoors. But it’s always with the space between us in mind. 

We wear masks when we go out, and we carry hand sanitizer with us like a mom carries diapers and baby wipes. 

We still pick up our groceries curbside and have our take-out delivered. 

We do this because I’m just not ready. And neither is my husband. 

I’m not ready for sleepovers, or to have other families to dinner in our home. 

I’m not ready for the kids’ friends to come inside, or for out of town guests to come and stay for the weekend. 

I’m not ready to sit inside a restaurant, or even outside for that matter. 

I’m not ready to peruse the local shops or attend a church gathering. 

And that’s OK. I don’t need to be ready. 

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I’ve struggled lately with the feeling of being on an island, and if I’m feeling this way—I have to imagine others are, too. But the more I talk to people and the more I reach out, the more I’m realizing there are still plenty of us who are choosing to move forward with caution.

There are plenty of us choosing to take it slow. 

It’s easy to forget that at times. When neighborhood friends ring the bell asking if your children can play. When your child wants to have a friend for a sleepover. When the neighborhood pool is packed. And you see the pictures your friends post at your favorite local restaurant. 

It can feel lonely. 

But I am here to tell you, that island you may feel like you are on is actually packed with people. (Don’t let that metaphor scare you—the people are all wearing masks and standing at least six feet apart.) 

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And there is no rush to get off, so take the steps you need to get to where you are comfortable. Or no steps at all. This is not a race and there is no finish line. Even if it feels like the starting gun fired and everyone is swimming away, there are plenty of us who stayed put. 

This isn’t easy. For any of us. None of us have lived through a pandemic before. There is no manual for how to get through this the best way. The information we receive is conflicting and changing and can be confusing at times.

We don’t know the right answer, we just know what we feel is best for our family. And every family is very, very different. 

In our family, four out of the six of us are considered high risk. And there is nothing out there worth taking the risk for. It doesn’t mean I’m living in fear, it means I am trying to take the precautions I feel are best to help protect those I love. Just because someone looks both ways before crossing the street doesn’t mean they aren’t trusting God—it just means they understand the dangers of not looking both ways. And for some of us, this virus is more dangerous. It’s for those people that I still choose to stay inside. 

To my friends who have relaxed their social distancing and are getting out more, please continue to give those of us who aren’t ready the grace we need. Choosing to maintain distance can already feel isolating. Check in on your friends who are continuing to stay home and make it a point to let them know you are thinking of them—and that you support them in their choice to do what they feel is best for their family. 

I have heard it said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and for me, during this pandemic, that most certainly seems to be true. So I will try not to compare. I will continue to move forward doing what my husband and I feel is best for our family during this time. When the feeling of isolation or loneliness threatens to take hold, I will remind myself there are plenty of others who are still making the choice to maintain distance. I am not on an island by myself. I will turn it over to God. And take it day by day. Because regardless of what is happening in the world, I always have Him. And if that is where I am drawing my strength, then I will be OK. 

To my friends who are still choosing to social distance right now, hang in there. We will come to the other side of this.

And remember, regardless of how you may be feeling, or what you see when you look out your window, there are others making the same choices. 

I know because I am one of those people. 

I’m not ready to take the plunge yet. I don’t know when I will be. 

And maybe you’re not there yet either. Maybe you don’t know when you will be. 

And that’s OK. 

We don’t need to be. 

Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson is a freelance writer, preschool art teacher and mother of four with a heart for Jesus. Her work can be found on a number of blogs and parenting publications. Recently relocated from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee. She is a passionate storyteller and believes every person has an important story to tell. We grow when we share. And even more when we listen.