I invite you to take a moment to consider where we are right now. There are the obvious mile markers – we’ve spent 60 or so days in an unprecedented statewide stay-at-home order; the school year is coming to the weirdest end any of us have ever known; daily briefings remind us of the toll COVID-19 has taken on our country and the world; words such as “essential” and “quarantine” and “PPE” have become part of our common language; and the list goes on and on.
But I’d like to reflect on a different perspective, perhaps a more positive one. How has this experience changed us? What are we doing differently? What could we not have imagined three months ago that is now commonplace? Let’s start with birthdays. Our desire to celebrate our friends and loved ones hasn’t diminished because of our social limitations. We still want to mark the day, we still want to honor the gift of another year, we still want to make someone feel special. When the door closed on in-person parties, the window flew open on “birthday parades”. The indomitable human spirit refused to be curbed, and with a little bit of creative thinking and a whole lot of love, people figured out how to do birthdays a little differently.
Birthdays aren’t the only celebrations that have changed with the times. Brides and grooms-to-be are reimagining their special day in new and creative ways. Some are moving forward with their planned wedding date, surrounded by an intimate group of family, and looking forward to a more traditional reception later. Some are inviting friends and family to witness their nuptials over Zoom or other video platforms. Others are postponing altogether in order to preserve the wedding they’ve always dreamed of. Love hasn’t been cancelled even if the date has changed!
Virtual graduations aren’t what anyone expected, but the accomplishment of completing high school or earning higher education degrees hasn’t been diminished. Radio stations and nightly newscasts are highlighting local seniors. Cable channels have been scrolling graduates’ names and their institutions from all over the country. Even First Pres is getting in on the act by providing a platform for graduates to celebrate with a photo and recognition by family and friends – physically distanced, of course! So while families can’t recognize their graduates in traditional ways, they’re finding new ways.
- Restaurants have turned dining rooms into efficient carry-out staging areas.
- Craft stores, sports stores, and many other retailers, offer curbside pickup.
- Photographers are offering “porch portrait packages” for families to mark and remember this time.
- Newscasters have turned living rooms into newsrooms.
- We’re worshiping and taking communion from home.
And the list goes on and on…
So where are we right now? We’re finding new ways of doing things. We’re accepting inevitable change and trying to make the best of it. We’re preserving what is important to us but allowing it to be different. We’re adapting. We’re growing. We’re challenging the way we thought it had to be in the face of the way it must be. We are becoming.