Andrea Springer offers today’s post. Andrea has presented retreats many times at the Retreat & kindness, pandemicConference Center and she will be the feature presenter for our annual Women’s Wellness retreat this September. The theme this year will be ‘Present with Purpose’ and you can read more about the retreat and about Andrea by clicking here. As we struggle to connect with our communities during the pandemic, take a moment to read this insightful reflection.

Community of the Long Haul

Not too long ago a wise colleague introduced me to the phrase, community of the long haul. The words struck me then and over these last two weeks I find myself returning to them again and again. It occurs to me that we are members of the community of the long haul. We’ve always been really, part of a human heritage that endures hardships and lives to tell. Think of the settlers and explorers heading into unknown territory knowing that life will be different. For us, it is abundantly clear that the words community, long, and haul mean even more today than yesterday.

The words we use are important and go beyond our personal understanding and experience so I turned to the Oxford Dictionary for new insights into those three small words; community, long, and haul.

Community: a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. This seems particularly appropriate as we may not be physically close to one another but locally, and globally, we share commonalities based on a small but mighty bug.

Long: lasting or taking a great amount of time. The unknown duration of our physical separation adds to our feeling of isolation. Distance also comes into play as we are reminded of social distancing, and suddenly six feet seems a lot longer.

Haul: pull or drag with effort or force; a distance to be traversed. These days it takes some effort, and often sheer determination, to keep a routine and move through the day. This reality is a distance to be traversed.

Individually these words can emphasize our separateness but together, what an image! Community of the Long Haul reminds us of what we’ve been all along and are most especially today. We are people of togetherness, commonalities, and endurance. We may not be hugging and shaking hands, but we’re reaching one another through acts of kindness and love that don’t need a physical touch; phone calls, music, prayers, videos, and journals. Just as the members of the early Community of the Long Haul shared their stories we can share ours. So write it down or draw it out or call someone and say it. Let’s pass on the experiences, the memories, the care, and the endurance of the Community of the Long Haul of this time and place.