I thought I’d never be saying this to my wife, who is an accomplished seamstress of many things. To date, she’s always made me my stoles I wear with my robe for worship services. Now it’s all about a swath of material and some elastic she’s found at a local store to keep me from coughing or sneezing beyond my mouth when in public. Well, so be it. “Make me a mask honey, but I want the Spider Man material to make me look cool.”
So we now live in a stay at home, no toilet paper available, time to get another bottle of wine, society. When this whole COVID thing is over we’ll either come out with less than we ever expected or packing an additional twenty pounds from all the food and booze we’ve stocked up on and have eaten or drank throughout our days.
I about lost my mind the other day. I found myself so rapidly trying to prepare for my work that I counted some seven or more computer programs and applications I’ll use to produce a worship service that I pray my congregation will attend via online come Sunday. (God, that was a long sentence!)
THEY NEVER TAUGHT US THAT IN SEMINARY!!!
But the hell with all of that. (Yes, clergy use those words too.)
What I’ve discovered is that beyond the liturgy, beyond the hunting for YouTube hymns with imbedded lyrics so that my peeps can sing along, to the staying in tune with the liturgical season, to the moments when I want to cry, and the fact I get up way too early these days to begin working is all that matters is the sixty minutes of multiple screened images of my congregation being in community with each other.
Oh my God, I sure do miss being with the people you called me to serve in the first place. Now I know what Moses felt when he stood before Pharaoh and demanded, “Let my people go!”
I have no idea what the first Sunday will look like when my congregation will gather after this plague of biblical proportion. But a hug would be nice.
Right now, I’m more occupied with government documents that allow me to keep paying my staff, who hope and pray they keep receiving a paycheck for the work that is demanded behind the scenes these days as we do our work electronically and telephonically.
In the meantime, I demand a mask to cover up all of this minutia.
These days, I’m cooking more, have learned to make bread, and when the day is done, I get to sit on back patio with my wife with a glass of wine as we play some card game that we yell “UNO” to each other. In the meantime, we pray neither one of us gets ill, and for those who can’t sit at a table and drink a glass of wine and play some card game where they get to yell “UNO” to each other.
My life, these days, is about reaching out to my congregation through telephone (that aged-old device) and this new thing called ZOOM where we gather on our computer screens and see a headshot of other as we engage in business, care, and worship.
I know we’ll get through this thing, but it’ll take a while.
In the meantime, I’ll ask my wife to make me a mask so that I can go out in public to get some food, hope I find some toilet paper, and to bring home a bottle of wine.
I’ve been awake way too early these days, but I’ve at least had a moment to reflect, and to know, that I’m not alone.
Thanks for being present.
I miss you.