We are all learning to live in a new way. Laity and pastors alike are becoming more internet savvy. We are being asked to be creative in how we reach out to the people we serve in our faith communities. We are connecting with each other by phone, FaceTime and snail mail. Persons who can sew or have some level of crafting skills are making face masks to share with family, friends and those on the front line.
Those of us who are still receiving an income are considering new ways to support those who are unemployed. I never thought about how many times I ate out before, but now I am intentional about ordering from restaurants that offer takeout and delivery options. My online shopping has increased as well. Yarn, dog food and supplies, masks and gloves have been added to my Amazon and Chewy grocery lists.
Necessary trips to the grocery store are far different. Arrows on the floor indicate the direction I must travel up and down the aisles. I can’t see anyone’s face, and I have to speak louder for my voice to be heard through the mask I wear. And it gets very warm inside a mask. I can’t imagine what it’s like for doctors and nurses who must wear person protection equipment for more than a 20 minute shopping trip.
I am adapting. I don’t want to think about how long we will have to wear masks as we go out in public. I am a hugger, and staying 6 feet apart is something I will have to work very hard to do. I have lost count of how many times a day I wash my hands and clean surfaces in my house. And my only companion is my dog, Tucker.
I have already grown nostalgic for how life was in February, not knowing that my plans to attend this year’s Annual Conference, a Star Wars Convention and a pilgrimage to a holy shrine in Canada are on pause. I miss sporting events, especially the Olympic trials. I love going to the movies. Watching new releases at home isn’t quite the same. Yes, my couch is more comfortable. However the screen is significantly smaller.
And of course, there’s church. I now have the opportunity to attend several services on the same day. I celebrate the different ways church leaders have embraced what it means to participate in cyber-worship. Still, I miss singing with others. I miss saying the Lord’s Prayer with all those who are attending worship with me. Like many of you, Fellowship hour is very different. It’s typing in chat rooms after the service has ended. It’s sharing with comments on Facebook or YouTube. It’s virtual hugs, smiles and emojis.
We are all learning to dance to a new song. It will take time for these steps to become familiar. Be assured that the Lord is with us as we travel on the new path which is before us. And Amen.