When Can We Hug Again?

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My struggle with online church, and with doing the right thing

I do not like pandemic church. There. I said it. I do not like online church. I do not like wearing masks and not being able to hug my friends when I finally remember to pre-register and actually get to church. I just don’t like it.

I know I sound like a petulant child. I know that online church has been a blessing to many, and that many more people have accessed services than ever would in the traditional format. It just isn’t my scene. I like going into the building and being around the people and singing the songs. The one time I got there, and we were finally allowed to sing the closing hymn, I just about cried a river of happy tears.

If I am sounding a little spoiled and entitled please know I am completely aware of it. We are living through a pandemic and our personal liberties do have to be infringed upon temporarily for the well being of everyone. I am certainly not suggesting we should now or ever do anything other than what Dr. Fitzgerald and her team are telling us. I am just saying I don’t like it. And that’s ok.

I guess that’s where I have landed. I am adult enough to recognize that even if I don’t like it, I can still do it. In the interest of public health, and protecting those I love most, I will stay home out of it, or put my mask on and keep my distance. It won’t last forever.

Outside of the whole pandemic church thing, there are some things I hope we keep forever. Like six feet of separation in grocery stores. Extra sanitization? Yes please let’s keep that, too. Looking out for each other? Following the rules to keep each other safe? Yes, I am on board with that. In fact let’s expand it to include following traffic laws, too, okay?

And do you know who is really good at rules? Kids! If my kids can remember to stay away from people, like when they would tell my Dad, “Hey grandpa: six feet remember?” then anyone can do it. These same kids who can’t manage to pick up after themselves, or flush and wash hands without a reminder.

I guess kids are mostly good at pointing out when others don’t follow the rules—much to my embarrassment from time to time. “Hey mom, why is that man wearing his mask on his chin?” “Hey mom, that lady isn’t covering her nose with her mask.” “Shh! Yes, child, I know; just keep your distance and move along! I am not looking for a fight at the corner store!”

My boys have struggled with the pandemic, just like the rest of us. They don’t like not being able to see their friends and have sleepovers and playdates. But they abide by the rules anyway because that’s the right thing to do. We want our loved ones safe, and this is the price for that right now. We are all in this together, just apart.

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