I was standing outside during the February cold snap when a tiny Bluebird started slowly hopping toward me. I moved toward it. Instead of turning away, it came closer. I got down on one knee and put a hand under it. Then it tucked its head behind its wing and snuggled in while I covered it with my other hand. It was cold and needed a warm embrace.
It wasn’t long ago I was that little bird. During October 2019, I moved to Texas to be near my grandchildren, start my new job with International Literacy and Development, and find a fresh start.
Then COVID-19 and the accompanying social distancing hit, making it nearly impossible to meet new people, much less make friends.
Like the little Bluebird, I felt left out in the cold. And like that bird, I had a choice. I could face the elements alone or I could seek people who would give me a warm embrace. I found a tennis group on GroupMe. A pastor pointed me to a group of guys who meet each Friday morning for breakfast. I discovered an amazing relationship through a dating app. And recently, I began volunteering as a mentor with a sixth-grade refugee boy from Nepal.
Maybe social distancing has left you in the cold. You don’t have to stay there. Like me, you can find ways to connect with people. Or maybe you could reach out to someone who needs the warm embrace of a new friend. In doing so, you might discover that the person needing the embrace was you.
Scott Brady, director of development, International Literacy and Development