It’s been 9 weeks since we have been permitted to physically be in each other’s presence. In that time many of us have been quarantined or self-isolating for a stretch; schools have been closed and education moved online; workplaces have been shuttered, employees either laid off or moved to makeshift home offices (kitchen tables); visits with friends and family have become video calls; loved ones have been lost; and Sunday morning worship gatherings have become Scattered Prayers.
In the midst of all those changes, much has stayed the same. Spring has arrived, bringing warmer weather, thriving gardens, buzzing, flying, and crawling insects, gorgeous walks, and…allergies. We have managed to be together while being apart through an online Maundy Thursday worship gathering, Morning and Evening Holy Week Prayers, a Women’s Retreat with Cathy Hardy, Storytime with Joanne, and Expressions Sunday online.
While much has happened in the last two months that has caused me to shake my head and mourn, there have also been many places where I have seen God’s love shine through. I have seen and heard of people caring for one another in times of need. People have been taking time to reach out and talk to one another. People seem to be more appreciative of each other and the work that they do. People are going for walks and enjoying their neighbourhoods and nature more than they may have before. Strangers are helping strangers. People are finding creative ways to maintain community and connection, like meeting at a distance in a parking lot or an open field. In all of this I see God’s love expressed through people’s love for one another.
In my household the pace of life has dramatically slowed down in some ways, and in other ways has continued to barrel along. While there is undeniably a whole new set of stressors that have come with our current times, I find that not having the hurly burly of running to-and-fro all day is a welcome respite. I have been able to spend more time with each of my kids and engage with them in different ways. My family has gone on our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign together, baked, sewn, knit, crocheted, stained wood, and watched lots of movies together. There have been good days and bad days--good weeks and bad weeks, really!--yet I have been blessed with people connecting with me when I needed it most, and I’ve been able to bless others by doing the same.
I’m anticipating a summer that will not look how it was imagined back in the winter, but it will still hold warm days, sunshine, being outdoors, deck sitting, and visiting with friends and family. As I wonder what the next “new normal” will look like, I am certain of one thing: God will be there with us in it, as God ever has been. Two verses sum up what I am trying to say. As St. Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” And in Colossians 1:17, Paul notes, “Christ is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” That being the case, I think that, with God and each other, we can make it through being together while apart for a while longer…
If you have any ideas of ways that you would like to connect with the Highland community please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Jennifer Rempel