Last weekend I “attended” an online wedding. The folks are missionaries and hoping to go back to the mission field. It was almost like watching a wedding that was part of a television show. I missed talking to the family members, remembering when the bride and groom were young kids. I missed seeing the joy on everyone’s faces. (My camera view was very far away.) I missed eating and dancing and just being with friends who are like family.
The next day I was part of an online funeral. The service was streamed while being held outside. The person died much too young, so the mood of the funeral was quite different. Some of what I missed was very similar to the wedding. I missed reminiscing about my friend. I missed hearing stories of how he touched their lives. I missed hugging folks I have not seen in a long time.
I have a friend who will retire after many years with the same company. Instead of packing up her personal items and taking them home, she will pack up her home office and return it to work. Then she will pack her personal stuff and take it home. No real goodbyes, no fanfare.
The other day, my oldest seeing we had a baguette and some grape juice said, “I think I am going to have communion.” I wanted to say, “that’s not exactly how that works,” but I decided to keep my mouth shut. A couple of days later I asked her about it, and she said, “When I saw those two things, I thought it was a good time to praise the Lord.”
No big surprise that not being with people in person is one of the biggest challenges of all this. We miss the big and small celebrations, the routine, and the encouragement of our faith community.
Maybe you have said “when things return to normal, I want to do _______again?” In the movie Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn signs up to be in the army with no real idea of what that means. In one scene her platoon is marching around in a circle in the rain as a punishment for some sort of misstep she has done. As they march, she laments about some of what she misses, “I want to go out to lunch. I want to go shopping.” “I want to be normal again.” Sometimes I feel a little like that.
What are you missing? What can’t you wait to do? How do you deal with this uncertain time? How do you deal with those feelings? Naming them can give us hope, some anticipation that this will not last forever. Our hope comes from God. From Isaiah chapter 40:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
While I am tired and weary, God is not. God gives us hope, reminds us what is important and helps us look forward to the future.