Sometimes, in our reflective hours, Missy says, “Just think. When we get through this pandemic, we’ll have stories to tell about living through such times.” I’m guessing she plays in her head the stories from our grandparents about the olden days, the amazing tales of grasshopper plagues and bathtub gin, of the first circus to ever arrive at Quenemo, Kansas, of why we should never ask great uncle G about Vietnam.
But looking back through my potential repertoire, I can’t find anything that really stacks up to these tales. I see them, the imaginary grandchildren huddled around my sitting chair, looking up from their fully immersive virtual reality video games implanted in their Google Eyeballs™ that my foolish children allowed. “Tell us about the pandemic of 2020!” their adoring voices intone. I’m bored before I even begin: “Let me tell you the tale of my 100-day streak on the New York Times crossword app.” “The sod project, now there’s a story for you…” “We… cooked so many meals!” Try as I might even with my present-day audience (and she is wonderfully forgiving of my ramblings), there’s really no narrative magic to the account of my victories in Fallout 4.
The quiet continues in my world for the most part, broken up by an occasional friend who stops at our porch for an evening. Am I losing my socialness, I wonder? I celebrated my sister’s wedding in our backyard last weekend, ten extra people fitting into our tiny world. One groomsman nearly passed out from the heat during the 15-minute ceremony. The niecelet ran free to practice her newly acquired skill of picking the heads off all the flowers she sees. A bunch of young folks lifted glasses of sparkling wine and made different iterations of the same grossed-out face when they drank it. “Taste and see, it’s not that bad, besides it’s traditional to have bubbly at toasts,” I had insisted, and they obliged.
It was not the wedding my sister had hoped for originally. But as I recited the prayers from our BCP, I felt my throat tighten and my voice become unreliable, a dependable sign to me that the Holy Spirit is near. Here was the moment of grace: two people who adore each other even past the mad flush of initial infatuation, now in the midst of the life-long awakening to the fullness of the other. Here they were in the quiet moment, the cicadas their choir, the lush green carpet of new sod their aisle, the trees touching overhead their nave, their vows as rehearsed and reliable as the best stories we know how to tell.
It’s the pandemic of 2020, but we taste and see that the Lord is still good. To think we could find stories of love and grace in such a time as this! It will be a story to tell their grandchildren.