When did you realize the pandemic would change everything?
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the global lockdown from COVID-19, I have been drawn to several news interviews asking, “When did you realize the pandemic would change everything?” I remember the date of March 11th, 2020. I had traveled to Portland for a meeting and then my eldest son and his girlfriend for a late lunch before heading the 90 minutes drive home. After getting our drinks, I got the great news that he had received a verbal job offer earlier in the week for a paraeducator position. He was in the midst of a career change and was taking classes to prepare for a graduate degree in education. That emotional high was quickly followed by discouragement when our governor announced later that day that schools would close “for a few weeks” after March 13th due to the pandemic and the job was no more. (He did eventually get another offer nine months later.) What a year this has been!
On this one-year lockdown anniversary week, spring has already arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Due to my husband’s green thumb, our front yard is filled with beautiful daffodils. He placed them in the ground six months ago. They lay dormant until the warming earth and lengthening daylight caused them to burst out of the ground and into full bloom.
The daffodils remind me that as in nature, we too experience growth cycles that have been heightened this past pandemic year. We have gone through cycles of dormancy, some dark days of discouragement and grief. Other days have been filled with foggy confusion. We have also experienced bursts of joy as we have connected with others around the world in new ways. Some days we change from discouragement to joy back to discouragement all in a matter of hours!
Our Messy Churches have also gone through change this pandemic year. Some Messy Churches have stopped meeting. Others have found ways to meet via Zoom or Facebook live. Some have provided materials for Messy Church in a bag so people gather at home and engage with one another. There are even some Messy Churches that have started in the midst of a pandemic. This past year has been difficult and has required us all to adapt and innovate.
My prayer for us all, as we continue to walk through the days of Lent and move towards Easter, is that we will emerge from this pandemic year bursting forth with glorious joy. May our lives proclaim the glorious bright colors of God’s love which is always breaking forth. As we acknowledge the difficulty of this past year that has brought many changes, may we also celebrate the unchanging and unconditional love of Jesus which unites us.
May the peace of Christ sustain you,
Prayer by Martyn Payne
God of grace,
surprise us in the ordinary of every day;
console us in the dilemmas we face;
inspire us when we don’t know what to do;
encourage us in the depths of our being,
that we might taste afresh the joy of eternal life,
in the here and now. Amen