Just Life

Choose | March 2021.

from this morning’s walk and a bit of subsequent play with the Waterlogue app – a pretty picture to start the post!

ah, the power of these One Little Words. As I prepared to write this post, I kept thinking about how I realized just about this time last year that AND (my 2020 OLW) was the perfect framework for navigating a pandemic. This year, it seems CHOOSE is ready-made for how I might navigate a (mostly) post-vaccination world, which is what my immediate family will be in by mid-May (yep, even Sara – she gets her first shot on Friday morning!)

It seems choices abound! My neighborhood bookclub did meet in-person and inside last week; I chose to stay home. My church is re-opening the sanctuary for one service on Sunday mornings, beginning May 2. Thankfully, I feel really good about the guidelines they’re following; everything adheres to the current CDC guidelines (not at all surprising considering the congregation … and one of the members of the “re-opening committee” works for the CDC). There will be limited capacity, social distancing, masks, no contact, and no communal prayer or song. I’m choosing to stick with the YouTube services (which are thankfully continuing indefinitely) because pretty much everything I love about communal worship doesn’t fit within the CDC guidelines.

I’ve already told y’all that my mom and I are having lunch on May 4. I’ve also scheduled a haircut for June 4 and I am 100% contemplating a pedicure (with Sara) before June.

Those choices were actually pretty easy. (and still, I was happy to see that this test in today’s NYTimes confirmed them all as LOW risk.)

The harder choices are going to come once more folks are vaccinated. when more things are open. when gatherings are going to be larger and likely include folks we (me) just don’t know very well (or worse, do know well, and know they’re not making similar choices). that’s gonna mean having the courage to say “no”.  (more courage!)

I think it’s also going to mean giving grace to folks who make different choices. and that was not something I actually contemplated when I thought about “all this”. I remember a conversation with my next-door neighbor last August, just after my niece was married. I was sharing how much I loved that the whole celebration gave “grace and space” … she said that resonated with the things she was doing, too. and for me, that still does. Grace and Space.

After this last year, I am 100% confident that the folks I am in close relationship with get that (and I am beyond grateful to be able to say this).

and for the others, I am taking it slow. grace and space. and time.

Closing with a huge thank you to Carolyn for hosting this monthly check-in. and to all my other readers – these posts and our conversation around them are such an important part of my journey. Thank you!

14 Comments

  • Charlie Frost

    We have had in person Worship since November. We follow all the CDC guidelines. Live-streaming the services while pre-recording all music and other parts by individuals. No singing. No mingling. Spaced far apart. Dismissed one row at a time. Must leave the building immediately. If I didn’t have to play an extended prelude and postlude, I wouldn’t attend. Also, even though I have had both shots, I’m still being very careful. Some of my friends think I’m overdoing it. Oh well. So, you are on the right track. Thanks for the grace, space, and time thought.

  • Bonny

    It’s been interesting thinking about choices and possibilities! Our second shots are scheduled for April 7th, and I will be scheduling a haircut two weeks after that, but I’m going to have to take things slowly and with much consideration after that. We just got a dinner invitation for this weekend from people that are good friends, but I’m not ready to have dinner when all of us have just received one shot. To be honest, the thought of sharing “indoor air” with others is not something I’m going to be ready for for quite a while. When the CDC director talks about “impending doom”, that makes me listen. Grace, space, and time are all good choices.

  • Jane

    Grace and space might have to be a new mantra for me. Those of us who have been vigilant will continue to be vigilant and cautious. I have a bridal shower invitation that I am going to decline. I will ruffle some feathers but a fairly large group gathering in a restaurant room doesn’t feel safe for me even with full immunity.

  • Sarah

    A big topic of conversation at last week’s synagogue board meeting was reopening the building. Our senior rabbi is pushing very hard to reopen. But I think it’d be rushing things and that we should wait a while longer. The good news is that it’s been stated explicitly that the online accessibility of services isn’t going away any time soon or really ever. We’ve found that we can do it, so it’ll be available going forward, and frankly I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner!

    By the end of April/early May, everyone one in my immediate family — except for my daughter and my 1-year-old nephew — will be fully vaccinated, which means that we will be able to safely get together. I think having that option is going to make it so much easier to stay the course. There are plenty of things that are off limits now that I don’t miss (being in large crowds has always made me nervous), but sometimes I miss going out to dinner or shopping for fun or getting together with friends. Choose is a double-edged sword in some ways: The pandemic makes it easy to choose not to do things you’d rather not do, but it also takes away some of the choices available to us. I’m trying to focus on what I can choose to do right now.

  • kym

    Grace and space. That is just the most perfect way to describe it, isn’t it? I’m on the board of an arts organization that hosts an annual lecture series. This year, we went virtual with the series, and it’s been a rousing success. Now, though, as we’re planning ahead, we did a survey of our members (the group is overwhelmingly women older than me). The responses are so mixed! I’d say as many people who are willing to hold off on gathering in person until 2022 as are ready to get together right now! (We’re planning another virtual year next year, by the way.) (And church services without the communal celebrating/gathering activities and time to mingle just sounds so . . . hard.)

  • Carolyn

    ‘Choose’ is certainly made for reentry as we all [eventually] get vaccinated and begin dipping our toes in again! A pedicure is at the top of my list, too. I’ve had no word yet on our church reopening, but when it does, I imagine it will look and feel similar to what you described. (Strange for me, without song…) We are hopeful our oppourtunity for vaccination will open here in about 3 weeks. I know so many who’ve already had it (thankfully, all of our parents + my brother). What a celebratory lunch you’ll have on May 4, just around the corner! And to even have Sara vaccinated–what a sense of freedom that will bring to your family…to be able to truly BE together again.

  • Carole

    Like everyone else I love your description of grace and space. Everyone in my small friends circle will be at least two weeks past their 2nd shot by the last week of April. I’m so excited about getting together with them!

  • Vicki

    Interestingly, my art museum visit was “low risk” according to the NYT test. I have not completed the vaccination course yet, but having already had COVID + Shot #1, I feel pretty good about the situation… with plenty of grace and space. I still — after a year — feel very much like I’m walking a balance beam.

  • Karen

    I’m just glad we are seeing the light at the end of a LONG tunnel. I’m fully vaccinated but my husband hasn’t been eligible for the first shot yet here. So I’m trying to be patient about it all…gah.

  • Kat

    Choose is such an excellent word for these days and my choices are not much changed from how they were before. I too like Grace and Space! Perfect 🙂

  • Karen

    I just read aloud your paragraph about reopening church to Sarah. We both totally agree with your assessment. But she and her co-pastor will probably have to do what your church is doing. The congregation won’t want to wait until they can sing and pray aloud together. It will likely be the same for my church, but I’ll stay home for exactly the reasons you’ve given.