It’s been such an odd week, full of minor and major disruptions. I think I expected that when it started, as one after another the places where I connect with people started telling us not to come in. I do miss being able to see friends, family, and coworkers face-to-face—but I didn’t expect those connections to feel stronger than ever.
I spent a lunch break on a video chat with my brother and my baby godson. I’d never have thought to do that before this week! I couldn’t pick James up and hold him, but I could make distracting faces and babble with him while my brother ran around the kitchen, and I got to hear him try out his favorite new word. He can’t manage “car” all the way to the end, but he’s got the “c” sound down pat.
A friend from college is getting married this spring, and the wedding party just canceled the first weekend we would have spent together in ten years. We didn’t cancel by text, though, but during a live conversation, calling in from all parts of the country and from around the world. I can’t remember the last time we did that. Then we stayed on the line, trading book recommendations and catching up on everyone’s families for nearly an hour and a half, until the bride and her fiancé had to go—a kind city employee had agreed to give them their marriage license in a parking lot outside the closed town hall. They sent pictures, looking cold but very happy! If they have to livestream a ceremony without attendees, we’ll all be there in spirit (and our bridesmaid’s dresses), watching from our living rooms.
I’m extremely fortunate to have a job that supports remote work. Calling in for regular meetings, I’ve seen new glimpses of coworkers’ lives: partners and children in the background (and sometimes the foreground), posters and photos on the walls, pets curled up on couches. Our communication channels are full of recommendations for local charities. We don’t start meetings with a brisk “Good morning,” but with “It’s so good to see your faces! How are you doing?” We don’t end with “I think that covers it,” but with “What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?”
The Vestry held an emergency meeting on Thursday. It’s a hard group to get together without advance notice, but everyone made it work so we could talk through our plan for the coming weeks and how St. Andrew’s can continue to support our parishioners, staff, community, and the people who use our space. I think we laughed even more than usual.
Over and over this week, people I don’t often talk to have contacted me, and I’ve contacted them. In every expression of love and support and closeness, I saw grace.
Take care, all of you—and keep in touch.