2020.08.24: community

The pandemic has been a trying time for everyone, especially for those of us who find community in their churches. Living with comorbidity, my wife and I chose to stay away from our church even when services resumed. The only times we have returned were for funerals.

Once it was a funeral for a relative in the church in which my wife and I were married. It was a surreal experience to listen to a foreign priest in the church that I had served many times in my younger days. My glasses fogging up due to an ill fitting mask didn’t lessen the illusion. The second funeral was at our church for the son of a friend of my wife. The music was welcoming, the homily was uplifting, but the dead man was completely unfamiliar. Again it was surreal.

The following day we went to a park with a walking trail through the native habitat. This is our treat to ourselves as we normally only have time to walk the streets of our neighborhood during the week for exercise. There’s something breathtaking when a breeze tiptoes across the native grasses and the lungs just fill up among the trees. Everyone we came across were respectful and friendly. There were glimmers of acknowledgements as we recognized ourselves as kindred spirits. We had all found refuge in a cathedral beneath the canopies. We were no longer strangers in a strange land.

communal spirit
walking unmasked in the park
naked in Eden

11 thoughts on “2020.08.24: community”

  1. I had a similar experience yesterday. I went back to Brazos Bend state park, and was delighted to find such a variety of people there — especially children and parents. There were a couple of groups that seemed to be from India, and a lot of younger people. Families were bicycling, and people hiking the trail were conversing with one another. Because admission is by ticket and only a few hundred are allowed into the park each day, it wasn’t at all crowded — it’s a huge place. Most people were unmasked in the outdoor environment, and smiles were everywhere, even between people who kept their distance and didn’t stop to chat. It was so wonderfully, beautifully ‘normal.’

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    1. Thank you. You are very kind but funerals are just a part of life as you get older. My first Covid-19 funeral was during the first month of the shutdown and had to be live-streamed. That was DIFFERENT. One of son was unable to leave Seattle and the daughter was the only other besides the wife in the huge church along with the priest, deacon, lector, cantor, and organist. Obviously there must have been a videographer lurking somewhere.

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      1. Aw that must have been hard for the family, but it seems the world is moving out of lockdown now. Even here they allow up to 50 at a funeral or wedding.
        Such a strange year!

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    1. You’re welcome. I usually leave it ambiguous so the readers can use their own imagination to flesh out the story but I thought I would try to describe the sense of alienation that many of us feel without our communities.

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  2. I understand the difficulty. We live in a safe location, but my innate paranoia prevents me from going back to church. I miss it dreadfully, especially the singing in the choir.
    You and your family will be in my prayers. Kat

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    1. Thanks, Kat. I’ve thought and prayed for you and your husband through these times. BTW, singing is one of the best way to propagate the airborne virus so you’re wise to discontinue that practice.

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      1. I know. We haven’t set foot in the church, and only our choir director is there with one of our members leading, but there are still people who don’t wear masks and choir members who sing. I know even if I’m wearing one, I’ll be so focused on everyone else, I won’t even concentrate and there is no way you could convince me to take communion, I hate the changes, but I’m determined to be safe.

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      2. It’s incredulous that people refuse to believe in the correlation of wearing mask and reduction in infections. It’s as if they never took science in school and it’s like religion that you don’t have to believe if you don’t want to.

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