I know, I know. My last blog was on this same topic. However, while I don't know about you, for me, I have learned more and more since I last wrote Part 1 on this topic. Here are some things I've learned:
1. You're never too old to learn how to get on a web-based meeting: When my mom was still alive, Dave and I gave her a computer when we got a new one. Yes, I just re-read that last sentence, and of course it should be obvious that we gave her the computer when she was still alive. But it makes me giggle just a little bit (my mother had a wicked sense of humor, too) to read that, so I'm just going to leave it right there. Back to the computer. Dave and I tried to teach her all the cool things she could do with it, like type letters to us on it then email them to us instead of sending them via snail-mail. As Dave said, we might as well have given a pig a stop-watch. My mother wanted NOTHING to do with a computer. She would press the space bar and leave her finger on it a second too long and all of a sudden, she was in distress about why there was so much space between words. Unfortunately, my mother passed away in 2005, before we could ever figure out a way to teach her how to use a computer. In the last few weeks of online church, more and more of our parishioners are getting used to using a web-based format to engage in the service. It is such a joy to see even some elderly folks unmute themselves after the service is over to say "hello" to Rev. Debra.
2. College friends can have happy hour together without using any frequent flyer miles: There are nine of us who have gotten together twice in the last few weeks for a "happy hour" (I bring my non-alcoholic ginger beer to the "party" and toast everyone just fine, thank you). Thirty-six years may have passed since we all met as freshmen at Trinity University in San Antonio, but I am going to tell you we can still make each other laugh until we cry about the silliest or the most poignant things. While one friend is dealing with "living" with her college students until they finish classes online for the semester ("they can't cook for themselves!" she cries, when we ask why she needs to be there), another friend's family business is taking a hit due to the virus. Two more of us lament the fact that our Habitat for Humanity build that was scheduled for July of this year in Africa has been cancelled. We talk, we laugh, we listen, and we keep each other in our prayers, no matter what happens. We have vowed that the frequency with which we get together may alter a bit when we don't have to do so much social distancing, but I suspect we are going to make it a point to do more than a "once-every-five-year" reunion like we were doing before.
3. Now that people have toilet paper, we seem to be nicer to one another: When we have to get out to go to the grocery store, it seems like everyone is just nicer to one another than before. What on God's green earth do we need to do to make this phenomenon hold true after the pandemic is long past? Remember, after 9/11, how everyone seemed to be just a little nicer to one another? That seemed to fade away after a few months. I pray with my whole heart that we can remember what it feels like to help one another out and be kind before jumping to the negative tilt on life.
4. Remarkably, even though we are quarantined, we seem to be appreciating the beauty of the earth a bit more. I have evidence of this on my Facebook feed (people sharing beautiful spring flowers that are growing in their gardens or in their neighborhoods; people taking pictures of mountains and trees that have literally stopped them in their tracks with their splendor and glory; and the list goes on). Isn't it ironic? While we are quarantined, we seem to be enjoying God's canvases a little more. I run each morning, and I find myself taking in breathfuls of the scents the desert has to offer in the springtime. I hope you are able to, as well.
5. We are getting more creative. I don't know about you, but more of my friends than not are in the education world. What a transformative time this has been for educators, school leaders, students, and the "new" teachers---parents. I have been in awe of how resilient and creative schools have gotten, in their zeal to help provide the students with the very best education they can while learning to fly this new airplane while it's still being built. Wasn't it Plato who first said, "Necessity is the mother of invention"? Boy, if that isn't the truth today!! As a clinical supervisor who oversees student teachers, I have had the pleasure of watching one of my "babies" finish her student teaching in style----over Zoom. She and I were on a Zoom then she conducted a Zoom with some of her students. She has become masterful in creativity and learning how to communicate effectively via different methods.
Will we ever go back to "normal"? I, for one, hope not. That is not to say I'm not ready to go sit down at a Mexican restaurant and eat all the chips and salsa I can shove in my mouth while waiting to be served my cheese enchiladas. But maybe we can take a look at the changes we'd like to keep when we are allowed to go back to our "regular" lives.
In the meantime, happy 6 - foot - distance- communicating to all!!!