Things I’m Good and Ready to Resume
[when that’s finally allowed again]
By Jeff Salter
DISCLAIMER: It’s beyond the scope of this column to parse exactly how much more “risk” to overall health and safety is the CoVid-19 (and its mutating strains)… than were previous pandemics — such as the H1N1 “Swine” Flu of 2009-10, which were handled (at least here in America) with considerably LESS drastic measures and requirements. Please note: I’m not debating whether stricter measures were or were not justified for this newest pandemic — I’m merely observing that the reactions / restrictions (from governmental entities at ALL levels) have been considerably different in this current crisis.
And it’s those differences – mandates handed down from CDC, through Governors and local political leaders – which have formed the restrictions that have made some of our citizens chafe. Again – please re-read this disclaimer – I’m NOT focusing this column on WHETHER these measures are justified… I’m simply noting that our current pandemic is attended with vigorous restrictions on gatherings, businesses, shopping, dining, schooling, and just about everything else. [And this is the first time in about 100 years that we’ve faced these type widespread restrictions.]
I’ve only laid out that background to explain how I FEEL about those experiences which have NOT been possible during these 10 months (or so) that we’ve so-far journeyed through our current pandemic. In particular, this week’s topic involves things that I’d want to do again… once it’s declared “safe” to resume normal activities.
The three restricted (or eliminated) activities which have most impacted me are these which were among my regular weekly schedule prior to mandated shutdowns:
* I have not been able to visit my mom in the nursing home since March 10 last year. In those 10 months, I’ve SEEN her once – from about 40 feet away (and through a glass wall) – on her 98th birthday… and I was allowed one supervised visit (late October) in which I could not get nearer than six feet. [Yes, I understand the REASONS for those restrictions, but I still don’t like them.] My normal pre-pandemic schedule included three weekly visits to mom.
* for the first two or three months of the “shut-downs” our church was among the many which were closed on the mandate of the KY governor. I felt awful about not being allowed to gather for Sunday worship… even though I was able to view those services through a streaming feature of Facebook. After churches were later allowed to re-open, we had very strict parameters on seating, masks, and the numbers of people who could gather in the sanctuary. Later in the autumn, attendance for the service was again suspended, due to fears about a new surge related to fall breaks and Thanksgiving get-togethers. Since middle-December, we’ve been allowed to return to the sanctuary, but we still have the seating restrictions and must wear masks.
* another emotional blow was no longer being able to work with the kids in our church programs like summer’s Vacation Bible School, and our weekly AWANA sessions during the school semesters. Each of those involves a LOT of energy and effort – which, at my age is already significantly waning – but they are functions I believe I was “called” to do… and I found it a blessing to work with some of those kids.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become more and more an introvert… and less and less do I enjoy / endure large gatherings (of whatever type). But I do still enjoy very small fellowships. I’ll give you two examples of times during this year of restrictions, when I sorely missed the ability to go with friends to a restaurant and sit down together.
* During early August, we were saying farewell to some good friends who were leaving KY for a farm in distant Connecticut. We had to meet in a parking lot and stand around our two vehicles as we chatted, reminisced, and fought back our disappointment that we’d likely never see those folks again. What we all four wanted to do was to sit around a table somewhere and share a final breakfast and coffee. Not possible!
* During late November, we’d been to a small indoor concert by four area musicians, whose music I’ve grown to love. After the event had concluded, we were invited to share a late supper with the husband-wife duo who are the heart of that group. Alas, that very day the KY governor had mandated that all eating establishments close – AGAIN – to in-person dining.
* For Thanksgiving last year, we dined with our Daughter and her family — OUT-doors, six-plus feet apart. Yes, that’s better than not seeing them at all… but it felt entirely un-natural!
These kind of disappointments – and the cookie-cutter restrictions that created them – are the type things I’d like to avoid in the future. These are the kinds of things I’d first want to resume when/if the current restrictions are ever lifted in a way that approaches “normality”.
Give us an example of something YOU want to resume as soon as you are allowed.
[JLS # 522]