I hope you and yours are safe and healthy.
Let me just start by saying this: What a year this month has been.
Just a few weeks ago, we were going about life as usual, and now it feels like almost everything has changed. Where I live- in space, in time- my day-to-day life hasn’t really ever seen this level of disruption. I suspect many others could say the same.
I miss Mass. I miss it so much, it’s one of the few things that’s brought me to tears ever since COVID-19 started rearing its ugly head in our country. Facebook just popped up my memories from four years ago when I was confirmed at the Cathedral of St. Paul, and my stomach just sunk knowing that we won’t be able to attend Holy Week services as usual this year. I miss the Eucharist. Felicity is asking if her First Communion is going to be significantly delayed. We’re watching Mass each Sunday on the computer, and it’s been a blessing to attend Mass virtually with priests and family that we might not get to often in real life, but when the source and summit of our faith is accessible only through a screen, it is achingly clear how much things are not the same.
I know this won’t last forever, and I am going to rejoice so very much when I can receive Jesus again in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. When I can go to confession. My soul longs for these things.
I’m going to spend some time over the next week thinking about how to celebrate Holy Week as a family in our home. I found a good post here on Catholic All Year that I’ll use as a reference point to start with. My goal won’t be to do more than I can handle, but will be to do a few things that will make the week meaningful in this strange situation.
I’m an introvert by nature, and there are a lot of people in my house, which means sometimes mommy goes and hides for a couple of hours, and that mommy also is sneaking a lot of chocolate in the pantry, haha, but mostly we’ve been enjoying time at home together.
Even my introvert self misses the ability to enjoy face-to-face interaction with family and friends. Video has been a huge blessing, but just knowing we can’t visit with family in person, or share a glass of wine with our friends just doesn’t feel great.
A lot of what’s going on right now is anxiety-producing! It was really unnerving for me to go to the grocery store about a week ago and to see so many shelves empty. The produce and fresh meat, nearly gone. There was a lot of expensive cheese left, and also a lot of ice cream, but so many of the normal, every day things I go into the store and buy each week without even hardly giving it a thought were nowhere to be found. That’s going to be something that will stick with me long after this is all over. This week, the supply at the store was much better, but it’s still strange. People out in masks and gloves. At home, we can kind of live in our little family bubble for days on end. But when I go to the store, it’s very apparent that things are not business as usual for the world right outside our home.
Our family is relatively young and low-risk, but it’s still been scary to hear stories of people our age who have had severe reactions. I don’t want anyone in our family to have to fight for a hospital bed. I want to protect my husband, myself and my children. But it’s hard to know how to protect yourself from an enemy you can’t really see! It’s hard to know how much disinfecting is enough.
All of that has given me some anxiety the past few weeks. I’m thankful for my faith, and for my kids and their snuggles, and the nightly routines JP and I keep up just to hang out and enjoy some normalcy in all the strangeness.
It’s been helpful to pay attention to the good amidst all that is not right now. Here are some things that are helping us through.
Homeschooling. We’ve been considering homeschooling the kids in the future, and I don’t know, it isn’t exactly a ‘trial run’ because of all the stress and isolation, but it’s been a chance for us to see what educating at home would look like, at least to some degree, and it will aid us for sure in our discerning process. And, honestly, I’m no homeschooling supermom, but I’ve been having a mostly lovely time digging into some fun learning and projects with the kids.
Connection. We’ve been using this time to connect with family and friends over video. We’ve had a few virtual dance parties, and we have an extended family Rosary on the calendar for tomorrow evening, which I’m looking forward to. I feel like we’re investing a bit more into creative, meaningful modes of connection, which I hope will continue when this is all over.
Here are 2 videos our family has made, hoping to bring a smile to our friends’ faces while we are apart:
I feel like for once our world is shouting about the dignity of the human person, with a special focus on the aged and vulnerable among us. We are being called to sacrifice our personal freedoms for the good of the other, for the health of the other, for the life of the other. And, as someone who believes in the dignity of the human person, from the smallest to the largest, the youngest to the oldest, the strongest to the most vulnerable, it’s been a refreshing side to all the stress. Yes. Sacrificing our personal comfort, our desires, what we want for the good of the other is of the utmost importance in this time. May we translate this care moving forward into other areas of life, to protect the vulnerable around us, no matter the personal cost.
Let us Pray
Our family is praying special intentions right now for those who are critically ill, who have died from the virus, those who are alone, lonely, and frightened. For the healthcare workers on the front lines, and all those who are keeping things afloat while we shelter at home. The grocery store workers, postal workers, truck drivers, first responders. For the scientists working on medications and vaccines. And so much more.
If you or anyone you know is feeling despair, please reach out for help.
This won’t last forever. You matter. So very, very much.
Hang in there friends. We’ll talk to you soon.