Written for the April 26th service of Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church
Welcome! I am Michelle Paquette, and my pronouns are she/her/hers.
Laurie and I have been effectively on lockdown since March 10, about 7 weeks now. Yes, we got a bit of a head start on most of you.
We had thought a few months ago that we would be heading off on a road trip this May, traveling across the country to the East Coast, visiting folks from Florida to Nova Scotia, and traveling back home via Pennsylvania and Missouri. That isn’t happening. Instead, we’ve become homebodies.
We are older, and between us have medical conditions that put us at risk should we contract COVID-19. As a result, we shelter in place, order groceries online, and venture out as little as possible. It’s a strange way for me to live, as I tend to be somewhat social and enjoy face-to-face interactions with people. Talking to little rectangles on a Zoom display doesn’t come naturally to me, but that is the only outside contact many of us have these days.
We’ve had to change some of our habits. We can’t run out to the grocery at the last minute to pick up a few things for dinner. There are no more leisurely late lunches at cafes, no outings to museums or urban treks. Our lives are very different now.
While I’d like to say “I’m so over it!”, head outside, and just go back to my daily life, that isn’t really practical or at all reasonable behavior. There are real risks right now, to myself, my partner, and everyone else in the community. Instead, my partner and I have to persist a while longer.
Persistence is defined as firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Now, I don’t think that our persistence is obstinate, and the only opposition we have is within ourselves. I find that my internal opposition is largely a function of my old habits. I can’t do this things I used to do, and a little part of me is upset that things just aren’t they way they used to be.
I find that I have to stop and remind that little part of me that this is something we are all doing as part of a greater cause, that others, people I may not have met, are relying on me and many others that they perhaps have not met, to follow these new behaviors, slow the spread of this virus, and make sure that the facilities they need are available for them should they need them.
I try to replace my old habits with new ones. I read more. I prepare more complex dishes in the kitchen, and I stretch my cooking and baking skills. I write more. I’m trying to get past some anxieties I have over communications and reach out to others who may be in need of support.
We can all find new habits to replace the old ones that are now out of reach. MDUUC provides a number of new, virtual activities from online Community Circles to virtual lunch meetups, Vespers, classes, and even our Coffee & Connections Hour after today’s service. (It’s pretty neat, by the way! Give it a try.)
We each may have something tucked away, a relaxing or engaging activity perhaps, something we can use to quiet that little part of each of us that is upset by these recent changes and help us stay in the moment. Let’s discover what inner resources we might have as we worship together.