Such a weird time we’re in right now. It’s history happening as we’re living it. One day, we’ll look back on this time and have so many mixed emotions and memories of it. I don’t know about you, but it’s given me much to think about and write about.
During this Coronavirus pandemic, we, as a society, are all supposed to be trying to practice social distancing. Some people do it well. Others…not so much. A few weeks ago, I had to go to the post office for some stamps. Right away, I noticed that placed all along the floor were strips of yellow tape. They were spread out 6 feet apart: the suggested distance for social distancing. It made it impossibly easy for us to keep our distance. All of us politely smiled at one another, likely with the same thought: We’re adults who need to be shown how to stand in a line.
Friends and family have found a way to help one another during this time. I helped out one of my best friends and her mother early in the quarantine period. My friend lives in England, but her elderly mom still lives in my town. My friend’s mother needed some supplies, and so my other friend, Martha, and I sprang into action to help out. Warm, fuzzy feelings in my heart!
Recently, I helped out a friend who is a nurse at a local hospital. I started up a text conversation with her some nights ago to check on her. She said she was tired, but good. A little scared, but praying extra hard these days. She also said that since she didn’t have cable or Netflix, she was doing a lot of reading, but had read almost all of her books. She half-jokingly confessed that without any of the public libraries being open, she was going to run out of books to keep her entertained. Well, being a bookworm myself, this simply would not do. Many texts later, we worked out a plan. I sent her photos of my books and movies, and she picked out which ones she was interested in borrowing. I got them all boxed up and dropped them off on her doorstep a few days later, maintaining our social/physical distancing.
I’ve been teaching my students online, and although I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, it just isn’t the same as teaching in my classroom. It’s much easier to engage students when they’re in the same room. It’s easier to have impromptu lessons in the classroom on the questions that arise. Teaching online, it’s really difficult to have the supporting materials handy to address their sometimes off-topic curiosities. A good many learning moments that are not part of the planned curriculum happen in a classroom . The job is getting done, they’re learning new things, and they’re still maintaining a certain level of personal responsibility, but I sure do miss my students.
Speaking of learning online, imagine my surprise when I found out my church is now offering online mass! I’ve “attended” three so far. Obviously it’s not quite the same as going into church. There’s no church aroma of incense or whatever it is that gives it that scent. There are no wooden pews that creak as you shift in them from sitting, standing, and kneeling. There are no beautiful stained glass windows to admire. There’s no communion to receive. There’s no way to actually shake hands with the people around you as you tell each other, “Peace be with you.”
But here’s what there indeed is. There’s the Holy Spirit connecting us to God’s word through an electronic medium. There’s the 60-something-year-old priest who has learned about the internet so that he can guide his parishioners. There are the heartfelt comments left by the others who are viewing the mass. There’s the automatic replies at just the right times because we’ve done it so often, and the comfort that goes along with the prayers and responses. There’s the sense of normalcy of doing something as routine as going to church, even if it’s online.
From a sociological standpoint, this whole mess is fascinating to me. While people were panic-buying and hoarding toilet paper, I’ll admit I stocked up on Nutella. (I stand by my decision. My family and I still have plenty of t.p., but are running dangerously low on the Nutella.) The stock market has plummeted. People have taken up sewing masks for friends, family, neighbors, anyone who needs one. Millions of people are out of a job. Restaurants are donating meals to nurses, farm workers, school children. Lots of people are dying. Artistic endeavors have flourished during this time. The pendulum keeps swinging back and forth between hope and despair.
My husband and I try to support local, small businesses the best that we can by ordering dinner to be delivered once in a while. My introverted friends and I have been enjoying this time spent at home with our families. My children have millions of Legos and have been creatively building all sorts of things with them…and yes, leaving Legos all over the house. My not-very-tech-savvy mother learned how to make video calls. My poor old dog probably has taken more walks these past few weeks than she has in an entire year.
I wish I could finish this piece in a stronger way. There’s still way too much to say and way too much to mull over. For people like my young son, this time in history will be something to read about in a school textbook when he’s older. For most of us, this time in history will define us not only on the whole, but as individuals. I’m still reflecting on how it is changing me, if at all. So for now, this is all.
As always, thanks for stopping by. ❤