Ready, not ready

Yesterday I went into the church building to work.  This has been my pattern on Tuesdays.  All other days I’ve been working from home.  This one day a week has helped bring some structure to an otherwise suddenly structure-lite existence.

It was, as you might imagine, quiet.  The North Broadway UMC playground across Broadway Place and right outside my office window, usually teaming with preschoolers, was empty.  Office staff had our weekly meeting via Zoom, with all others at home.  In the afternoon I went into the sanctuary and lit the peace candle, taking a few pictures with different backgrounds for a new image in our worship postings.  I extinguished the candle and left it there, uncertain of when it would be lit again.  At the end of the work day I gathered up a few extra books that will be more useful at home, and headed out. 

On my way home, up High Street, I was unexpectedly surrounded by dense traffic.  Throughout the day I had had various points of sadness for the losses of this period, and then, all of a sudden, in the midst of what used to be a normal amount of cars on a heavily traveled road, I found myself having a bodily reaction that went something like, “Wait, I’m not ready for this to be over yet.” 

Throughout the last month and a half I’ve been surprised multiple times by reactions counter to what I thought I was feeling.  This clearly isn’t over yet – far from it (and “normal” as we once thought of it might never return).  And part of me is feeling the accumulating personal and collective losses of social distancing, longing to recover some social nearing.  But apparently another part of me senses there’s more to learn, more to cherish, more necessary changes to undergo before “this” morphs into something else.