Well, the end of 2021 took an unexpected turn for all of us, didn’t it? Nearly locked down right before Christmas, back to online learning for the kids, and mom and dad heading into the new year alternately working from home and supporting the virtual learning and praying it doesn’t last long.
I fully acknowledge and appreciate that we are very fortunate at our house, that both adults have continued to be employed and in such a way that we could keep our children and families safe and follow all the public health measures. But that is not to say it has been easy: it certainly has not. Many things have fallen by the wayside, and regrettably our connection to the church and its ministry is among them.
Prior to all of this pandemic mess, 2019 me was committed to getting us to church on the weekend whenever possible, contributing not just our regular offerings but supporting all the outreach ministries, and taking in whatever events took place. Now I have to admit that when my Facebook notification comes up saying my church is live (i.e. the online service is starting), I usually just swipe it away. It’s not that I don’t like to watch, or enjoy the online service—it is what it is in the times we are living in—but I don’t feel the connection to it all.
To be completely fair, I probably can’t blame the pandemic entirely. Finding connection has always been a challenge. It was easier earlier in life, when I was participating in and/or leading Sunday school and Confirmation, working with the church in various ways, and starting this column. My other half and I went to church regularly, sat on committees, and sang in the choir.
But once the children came along, hoo boy. Time? Who has that? Where does it go? At this point in life we sign up for e-giving to make sure we hit one of the three T’s (time, talent, and treasure), and call it a day. I don’t feel like I have an ounce of anything left to give otherwise. Work, raising kids, keeping the house, and don’t forget hockey for one kid and drums for the other. Maybe I’ll have time when they move out.
I do miss being involved more tangibly. I feel disconnected from the work of the church when I can’t be in it. But I suppose this season will pass and there will be more time when the kids get older and not so dependent on us to attend to all their needs. Likely the pandemic just intensified what would have happened anyway with a young family and so many commitments. I have always felt that it is natural that young families are more absent from church life because it is so hard to balance all the priorities. I guess I hoped it wouldn’t happen to us, but why wouldn’t it really? I think we could all have a little more compassion and understanding for what it takes to be involved in any way, and celebrate whatever it looks like. Maybe that can be our goal for 2022?