Advent Devotional – Wednesday, December 2

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Week 1 – December 2 – Surviving the Pandemic

Reflector: Jennie Elliott

This pandemic has been a time that has forced us to adapt and grow. In fact, I’m encouraged by the creativity and growth I see in the world. Don’t get me wrong — I’d rather NOT have to go through a pandemic, but I also see the creative ability of us all to cope with the world around us. Honestly, I’m not sure if we should be celebrating Advent or Easter at this moment, with the new growth and rebirth of the Easter story.

As a single adult, thrust into empty-nester-hood a mere 2 weeks before the lockdowns in March, the isolation of working from home and having to stay at home has been my biggest issue. Add to this the death of my mother on April 5, and the inability to travel safely to be with my family during the period of loss and grieving, and it was a very bleak time indeed.

And yet, I actually found myself making new friends in the middle of this crisis. Imagine! At a happy hour with friends a few months before COVID hit our country, I’d met a guy who’d gone to graduate school at the same music school I’d attended and during the same years. We had an interesting conversation and kept in touch, due to these common interests. Honestly, how many people can hum the theme of the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th??? He also lives alone, and although he has a girlfriend, we decided to “companion” each other through this crisis by taking weekly walks together.

These walks grew into a group of 4 of us who now hike together every Saturday morning. These new friendships have been a lifeline to me and I value them deeply. In addition, Joanne Krumel noticed that one of our fellow ballroom dancers lives near me. (Did you guys know that JoAnne and Glenn are ballroom dancers?) So now I’ve developed a friendship with a neighbor whom I sort of knew from the general ballroom community but honestly had barely spoken to before. She and I meet for a walk every few weeks, and it’s been lovely to make her acquaintance. I find the pandemic has sort of forced us into an intimacy in our friendships that would not have happened before. We know we need each other to get through this.

I so look forward to being able to hug people again, and travel, and see my family again. I look forward to being able to waltz again, which is like therapy to me. But in the meantime, we humans are not sitting on our hands and moping — we are finding new ways (outdoors!) to be together, and we are finding ways to serve, and new ways to find meaning in life.

Prayer: Loving God, In the midst of pandemic and woe, we know you are with us. While we long for hugs and togetherness with others, you have help to guide us to use our creativity and to seek new ways of community. May we keep ourselves open to the wonders of your spirit within us. Amen.