One year ago today, I left work to go to the funeral of a friend’s mom, thinking my spring break had been doubled to two weeks because of the coronavirus. When I went through the receiving line at the church, I wasn’t sure if I should reach out to hug my friend or stand awkwardly and offer my condolences. My friend hugged me. That was the last time I’ve hugged someone outside my family. One year ago.
The next day, I received the word not to return to the office. One year later and I still have not returned to my office. Not once. The earliest I will go there is in August 2021. That will be 17 months after I left. (Thankfully, I’m still working, just via zoom.)
You have your own story. We all do. Where you were when you first heard about the lockdown. Who you were with during the weeks/months of quarantine. What you have lost.
Because we’ve all lost something. Many, many people around the globe have lost loved ones, and we grieve with them. Others have lost weeks or months out of their lives because of the illness.
The rest of us? We’ve lost the privilege of going to school or going to work. (Maybe the only good thing there is that now we realize what a privilege it really is.) We’ve lost trips and visits and income and having a friend stop by for coffee and going to sports events or cultural events. We’ve lost freedom.
Our grandkids were due to visit for Easter, right after Spring Break. All the plans had been set. We were excited! We hadn’t seen them for two years.
One year later and we still have not seen our grandchildren. It has now been three years. We hope to go visit them after my semester of work ends this year.
We all have our memories of when we first heard about the horrific events that mark each generation. When the Twin Towers fell. Those a little older remember the Challenger explosion in 1986. If you’re my age, the event forever imprinted is President Kennedy’s assassination. For my parents’ generation, it’s the attack on Pearl Harbor, D-Day, V-E Day.
Those memories are tied to visceral feelings. When you recall those events, the shock, disbelief, and horror you felt comes racing back. Being sickened by the images on television and yet being unable to tear yourself away. The collective mourning of a nation and world.
With the vaccines getting out and the pandemic’s spread beginning to slow, we can see a glimmer of light at the end of this long, dark year. But I believe we will all be altered. Some will be more germophobic than ever.
Hopefully, we will be kinder. Hopefully, we will not take each other, or the gracious gifts in our lives, for granted.
I want to hug my friends and hold on a little longer.
Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to uproot . . .
A time to weep and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn and a time to dance . . .
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing . . .
One year later, it’ll soon be time to plant and laugh and dance and embrace. I’m ready!