Cultivating Relationship

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Pandemic time is teaching us so many things about relationships.

It’s undone our assumptions about work, calling into question the worth of “going into the office” and exposing how we pass most of the economic pain down to those on the so-called lowest rungs of the ladder.

It’s clarifying that there is no real replacement for in-person connection, and certainly reminding us how precious human touch really is.

Our friendships were weeded out and realigned, inviting us to now prioritize those that are essential over those that are instrumental.

We noticed how much costuming is required of us, not just making it clear how sweats are so much more comfortable than suits and fashionable heels, but also helping us notice how insidiously our “required gear” ranks us and separates us from each other.

Routines once forsaken were welcomed back in and suddenly the sacredness of unhurried habits like sit-down dinners, dog walks and making our own bread reasserted themselves.

The promise and precariousness of the common good has been placed center stage, reminding us that when people aren’t willing to make small sacrifices for the larger whole, pandemics don’t end.

We’ve learned and are learning all this because Covid brought so much to a halt. It put on the brakes and made us pause. We’ve had time to look around. To notice.

And maybe that’s the most important thing we’ve learned about cultivating relationships, the central thing we need to remember when we are finally able to move on: To go slow.

How long has it been friends since we carefully considered our relationship to speed? A slower pace. A quieter way of moving. A more careful way of dancing with each other. It’s the secret so rarely mentioned, and so often overlooked. Simply put, relationships are really hard to build and care for when we are running.

May this month help us hold on to that. May it be one of the lessons we remember most. May we all be blessed by the sacredness of moving at a snail’s pace.