Memorial Day weekend this year felt so very different from Memorial Day weekend last year. As June begins, it feels like we are actually beginning to emerge from the long struggle to stay safe from Covid-19. The CDC’s invitation for fully vaccinated people to set aside their masks was a bit surprising, but very welcome. Now, various states and municipalities are adjusting their restrictions, and even Penn State has eased the masking and distancing measures on campus. As vaccinations levels rise (and summer weather arrives) people are more confident that they can travel safely.
Everyone in my immediate family is now through the 2 week period after their second vaccine, so we are likely safe from both catching the virus and spreading the virus to others. This means family members are actually driving from Illinois and Minnesota to be here for my younger daughter’s high school graduation. I’ve begun to put summer travel plans in place. I even had lunch with a 2021 PSU grad inside a restaurant in State College over the weekend – first time for me since March of 2020.
The contrast with last year at this time has started me thinking about the roller coaster of experiences and emotions that has filled the past 15 months. Fear. Isolation. Worry. Confusion. Somedays, we were overwhelmed by news and science information. Many days we were frustrated by distance and separation from loved ones. We were unmoored from usual routines. If we found a rhythm in lock-down, it seemed to last only a short time because changes came and we needed to find a new rhythm. This happened again and again. We almost became accustomed to uncertainty and change.
I’d like to offer some questions to reflect on as we adjust to another set of changes:
-How have you been changed by the past 15 months?
-How have you grown? How have you struggled? What have you learned?
-Where have you seen God?
God is always with us, even through this time filled with endless changes and challenges. God has been bringing hope into our fear and uncertainty. God somehow brings new life out of what seems to hold only loss and death.
Enjoy the possibility and freedom that these new changes bring. Revel in the opportunity to be less isolated, reconnect with people, and return to things you’ve needed to avoid doing. Look back over the past 15 months and consider how you have been shaped by the remarkable challenges and the unexpected joys. Notice that God has been with you all along.