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March 27, 2020

The Space Between: Navigating Social Distancing as a Single

By Kayla Jeffers

Like many of our community, I have been worshipping online with our Grace Family. And even though I miss face-to-face gatherings more than words can say, I am extremely grateful for the ability to gather virtually. Social media has been redeemed by so many posting about their worship experiences with their families, and it is truly a blessing to see the body of Christ connect and engage as we are scattered throughout the world.

As I listened to our worship team sing Another in the Fire, these lyrics stopped me in my tracks:

“…when the walls are closing in
And when I look at the space between…”

Social distancing has put a lot of space between all of us, physically and emotionally. We are limiting our contact with elderly loved ones, changing the way we greet our friends, and seeing many everyday activities as a threat to our health. How ironic that in an effort to work together to defeat the coronavirus, we are staying away from one another. We are all united by the same vision–to keep everyone healthy and rid the world of this sickness–yet we are apart, isolated in our homes.

The “space between” can also refer to the unknown territory between two familiar places. In this context, the space between is not literal. Instead, it’s a state of being. For example, anyone who has ever experienced a breakup or separation can attest that the time of healing is unfamiliar, difficult, and overwhelming. Someone who was once happy and complete (familiar territory) is now heartbroken and lonely (unfamiliar territory). Walking through the gap of hurt and pain to healing and restoration is a process. Every hurt is different, and the space between who you were before the brokenness and who you are after the healing process is unknown until you are on the other side.

There’s always a level of mystery and uncertainty in the space between. In the midst of this pandemic, we find ourselves wondering what is going to happen. We are standing at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the vast canyon, staring into the unknown. How will this difficult season affect our future? We don’t have the answers, but as believers, we know the One who does. We trust in the name of Jesus, who holds the entire span of time in His hands. He knows our past, present, and future and is not shaken by our current circumstances or fearful of what’s to come.

For me personally, the space between brings an overwhelming amount of silence and solitude. I am single and live in a house with a roommate who I rarely see. I have two part-time jobs: PE teacher at International Community School and Student Director at Grace Oviedo. Before the nationwide quarantine, both of these roles allowed me to be surrounded by people all the time. I’m an extrovert, so having constant human interaction was the best thing ever. But now, I find myself at home having staring contests with my cat (feel free to picture that and chuckle).

COVID-19 has completely flipped my world upside down, and I know that countless others find themselves in the same boat. For some, their homes might be loud and chaotic because the kids are cooped up and getting themselves into trouble. For others, it might be stressful because tensions are high and relationships are being tested. For me, it’s still and quiet because the commotion of my normal rhythms and interactions are shattered and non-existent. How will I survive weeks of quarantine without seeing my friends, students, and co-workers everyday?

An ongoing battle for me is remembering where my purpose is found and fulfilled. So many times I allow my identity to be rooted in who I am to everyone else. Is that the way God calls us to live? Absolutely not. Imagine my surprise when the very source of my identity is abruptly taken away and I find myself home alone with an overwhelming amount of silence and stillness.

…when the walls are closing in
And when I look at the space between…

My ever-wandering soul is searching for an anchor in these uncharted waters. I am face to face with the gravity of my sin and my desperate need for a Savior.

The Lord has a way of getting our attention, doesn’t He? When I’m consumed by my busy schedule, with little time to eat, sleep, or think, it’s amazing how I feel no need for reflection or tranquility. When the people in my life are giving me the attention I crave and fulfilling my longing to be seen, known, and loved, why should I stop and remember that my worth comes from the Lord alone? In fact, I’ve been spending all of my energy serving the Lord and His people, so I’m doing just fine, right? Oh, Father forgive me for how far I have drifted…not only have I been living to gain the approval of man, but I have also been striving to earn the love of God.

Now that my life has come to a screeching halt, I am reminded once again that Jesus is the one who holds my heart. My worth is found in Him alone. My service for Him is a grateful response, not a means to earn my place in His kingdom. Psalms 100:5 says “The Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.” In the middle of the silence and lack of normalcy, God reassures me that I am His daughter and His love is more than enough.

When all else fades away, His plan and purpose remain. Psalm 31:5 says, “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” When we walk through the unknown of the space between, may we remember that God holds us in the palm of His hands. He has proven Himself trustworthy and will always be with us through the fire. As the song says, we will never be alone…

There is no other name but the name that is Jesus
He who was and still is, and will be through it all
So come what may in the space between
All the things unseen and this reckoning
And I know I will never be alone
And I know I will never be alone.

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