The SOOPers came into town yesterday and when I saw them today at the café, I momentarily forgot that this wasn’t just a normal year. The SOOP program is run through the Mennonite Mission Network. Each year volunteer retirees from Mennonite churches across the country spend several weeks completing projects at other churches, including all types of construction and hospitality. Having the SOOPers visit is always such a blessing at this time of year after the joy and togetherness of Christmas has waned and life feels like it is accelerating back up to the normal warp speed at which it seems to run.
This year, returning to what-now-passes-for-normal feels especially hard. Part of me wants to yell out loud, “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to go back to this version of reality! It’s so frustrating! I don’t want to stay home anymore, but then also feel anxious every time I go out. I don’t want to stand 6 feet apart anymore. I don’t want to have to guess if someone is smiling beneath their mask anymore. I don’t want to try and fail to get my kids sit in front of a computer for certain hours of the day and then to try and fail to keep them from sitting in front of a computer for all the other hours of the day. I don’t want to worry anymore about needing to cough but then trying not to, or if someone else next to me just coughed, or maybe that was just a hiccup? I don’t want to keep having nightmares where I’ve forgotten my mask and I’m on a crowded train. I don’t want to have to keep calculating how much risk is acceptable to see my sister-in-law (To see my sister-in-law! I mean I’m not talking about skydiving here!) I don’t want to have to keep wondering about mutations and whether or not there are enough vaccine doses. I don’t want to have to attempt the tragic impossibility of keeping track of all of the people I know who are in quarantine or who are sick or who are recovering. It’s awful!”
But then even just thinking all of that just makes me feel like such a complainer and I just want to bury it and pretend like everything is fine and we’re all doing great and my new schedule is amazing and I’m feeling really, really present moment-to-moment. I imagine in my head that everyone else seems to be hanging in there so well. It’s just me. I’m the only one that is struggling and weak and not able to handle it all.
What a rabbit hole we climb down!