“I hate Zoom.”
“I’m so tired of doing things online.”
“If I have to do ONE MORE Zoom meeting…”
“Online is not the same as in person.”
Over the past 10 months, I’m almost positive that each and every one of you who is reading this has had these thoughts. We have all done more FaceTime, Zoom and GoTo Meetings in the past 10 months than we have in our entire lives combined! It has led us to feel tired – tired of staring at the computer, tired of trying to gauge people’s expressions through the screen, and tired of having to ask people to repeat themselves for the fourth time because their audio keeps cutting out.
We were created for community. We were created for connecting with people, but right now we have obvious challenges. Online is one of the only ways we can safely connect with people, and it can cause our connections to feel limited.
I don’t know about you, but because everything is online at the moment, whenever I receive an invite to another Zoom meeting, I dread it! It’s so dramatic of me I know, but it’s just become something that I don’t look forward to. In March, myself and a handful of friends would Zoom as a group once a week just to catch up and check in on one another. Then it became every two weeks. Then once a month. And now it’s fizzled out completely where we haven’t had an online hangout in several months. Online conversation cannot compare to in-person conversation. You aren’t able to feel the energy from the other person. You can’t gauge their body language. You struggle to feel their emotions. But, online is sometimes our only option right now, and if we let it, we can still create meaningful connections in our online world.
My church had an online women’s Christmas event this year. For the past 2 years, we have had amazing Christmas events for the women. There has always been so much encouragement, connections, and friendships made and strengthened. So this year, with the obvious restrictions, we did a Zoom Christmas event instead. I have to be honest, it took me a long time to click the “attending” button on the e-vite. I was tired of online. I was tired of the awkwardness of the first 10 minutes of any zoom call where you just sit there staring at each other’s little squares. I was tired of having to overcompensate with my emotions so that people could read them through the camera. A little reluctantly, I clicked “attend” with the thought in the back of my mind, “I can just stay muted the whole time and not really participate.” We all logged on at 7:30 pm and I saw all these people’s little square faces and my walls started to come down. I heard people’s hurts. I heard their victories. I had people tell me how much they missed me. I had people ask genuinely how I’m doing, and actually listen to what I had to say. I heard all that God had been doing in their lives and ministries in the middle of this pandemic. I walked into (well, into my living room) this event with little expectation of what sort of connections would come out of it, and I was truthfully very surprised. Did it compare to our Christmas events of the past? No, not even close. But I signed off feeling a sense of community, encouragement and belonging, even through a screen.
Maybe you’re the same way. Maybe when you receive an online invite or a group FaceTime or another email from Zoom saying “scheduled meeting” and you feel a sense of hiding. Maybe you log on and participate, but only on the surface level. Maybe you stay muted because it feels too vulnerable to share through a screen. I’m here to tell you, that someone needs you. Someone on the other side of that computer needs your story, needs to hear your struggles and your victories. Someone needs you to listen and to share. Someone needs you to be vulnerable and honest and real. Someone needs to hear what you have to say.
Moms Café will be offering an online session once a month for the remainder of our season until May. Now, before you give in to those feelings of hiding, I want to remind you that you are unique and beautifully made. Your story, your struggles, and your victories are all unique to you, and someone else needs to hear it. What God has done in your life over the past year is a display of His character, and others need you to share. We are excited to do an online gathering once a month, because I know from experience that online events can create a sense of connection and community, even from our own kitchen tables. It may only feel like a sliver of the connections we made in person when we were meeting, but I know that a tic-tac size connection online is far better than anything else we can experience on our own.