Social Distancing: Week 4
Week 4. One month. No end in sight.
I realized today that the photo that is the background for my computer was taken on the last day before I had an inkling that everything would change. It was a Monday, March 9th. It was a teacher workday, and so I took my kids to a nearby nature preserve for an afternoon adventure. It was a beautiful spring day. We walked around the lake, they tried to skip rocks, and they played on the playground. I placed a grocery order while we were there, to be picked up that same day. I had no concept of social distancing, no thought of wearing a mask, and while the first case of coronavirus in North Carolina had been identified the previous week, I had no idea of the way our lives were going to be impacted. The next day, all school field trips would be cancelled for the rest of the year, and by the next week, school would be out indefinitely.
This week was spring break, and while we didn’t have any travel plans, I had in mind lots of low key adventures like the nature preserve. Maybe a day trip somewhere fun. Instead, we signed up for Disney+ and spent a lot of time in the backyard. This week has been the most challenging so far for me. Every morning when I wake up, I feel like I’m swimming through mud, my body already exhausted, remembering this strange new world before my brain clicks in. I’ve been tired and unmotivated, avoiding the news and escaping into books instead. I know that next week will bring new challenges as we officially start distance learning, and so this week I’ve just let myself be tired.
I’ve heard this week about summer programs starting to be cancelled, and the thought of that has made me even more tired. Since this started, I’ve had the thought that “as long as things are back to normal by summer, we’ll be okay”. I’m a summer person. I love summer. The thought of summer being cancelled is harder for me than the thought of school not going back this year (our schools are currently scheduled to reopen mid-May, but I will be surprised if they reopen this year). Though our summer plans just consist of the pool (all day, every day), I spent many of my summers as a camp counselor, and I know that for campers and staff alike, the idea of no camp is devastating. The Appalachian Service Project, a mission trip I attended in high school, has had to cancel all of their summer programs, which is again devastating--not just for the staff and participants, but for the many families that they serve.
I’m wondering more and more--what are the things that will never return to “normal” after all of this? Just like air travel changed significantly after 9.11, it seems like there will be significant changes to society once we are no longer confined to our homes. What will those changes be?
Tomorrow is Easter. It will be a different Easter. We don’t have a special Easter meal planned, we won’t be gathering with family or with our church, taking pictures of our kids in front of the cross full of flowers in their cute Easter outfits. All of the egg hunts have been in our backyard, all of the events that normally mark this season cancelled. Despite all of that, it is still Easter. He is still risen. We will still celebrate the resurrection.
So much is different, so much has changed, but the tomb is still empty. In this world of uncertainty and rapid change, let’s cling to that truth harder than ever.
He is risen, indeed.