Sunday, May 17, 2020

Waiting for the Advocate: The Sixth Sunday of Easter and Week 10 of Quarantine

Two months ago I definitely didn't think I would still be here in my kitchen, blogging about quarantine. I knew in my head that I wasn't returning to teach in my classroom this school year and that I'd be still teaching online, but I didn't realize how exhausted my students and I would be at this point. Our school year is coming to a close and summer is upon us, but I have no idea what my summer is going to look like. Usually I fill my summers with travel but that still is not able to happen at this point. States are slowly starting to lift and shift their "shelter in place" directives, but we still are only operating at 50% capacity in spaces at best, with six feet and masks in between us.

I realize that I don't sound as optimistic as my last couple of quarantine posts. I have been trying hard to keep the Easter season spirit of joy, and I've slowly started to go back into my classroom and see some colleagues and friends in social distanced spaces, but week 9 was kind of a rough one. I feel like I've exhausted every possible thing one can take advantage of during this time. I am a very goal-oriented person. Here is a list of my "accomplishments" from the over two months of quarantine:

- daily prayer, sometimes going into the churches that are open to 10 people at a time
- daily walks and exercise
- developed online lesson plans and activities for two months of curriculum
- created countless audio and video recordings for my students
- created content for an education platform I am contracted to work with
- attended meetings and numerous happy hours and "social gatherings" on Zoom. Or Meet. Or Facetime. Or Facebook. Or literally all of the available platforms for video chats at this time
- I've written and presented at least five Faith Formation sessions virtually for adults for my school, parish, and even a national organization
- I played my first RPG game. And, honestly, probably my last. It was not for me!
- I've read six books and two short stories.
- I've recorded podcast episodes with a friend about aforementioned short stories
- I've taken weekly online art classes
- I've binged Tiger King, Love is Blind, Dead to Me and probably a ton of other shows that have come out on Netflix during this time
-Watched all 9...or rather 10! of the Star Wars movies and blogged about them!
- I've driven within a 1 hr radius all around central Virginia and walked all around Richmond just to get out of my apt
- started brushing up on my Spanish and learning Polish
- looked for a new apartment (and found one!)
- cleaned out my hall closets and spaces around my apartment
- donated items from aforementioned closets and spaces
- reinstated "Cocktail of the Day" on my social media

I know there is much more that I can do and probably have done...but the point is, quarantine continues and it continues to be hard. I know we all are over this. And there is still so much to be grateful for, which I have to continue to focus on to get myself out of the heads spaces I can sometimes go to when I start to reflect a little too inwardly. At the beginning of this I was grateful for this time of introspection and I think it still is a good thing to come of this. But I can tend to over analyze and I am totally there and frankly exhausted from it.

So where is the Good News??? This is still the Easter Season. Ascension Thursday is this week and we have about two more weeks until Pentecost, which is definitely one of my favorite days. I still have hope that the Holy Spirit will be moving at Pentecost and we may be able to be free from our upper rooms while still being safe. But things aren't going to be "normal" for a while. And I do keep thinking about the apostles as we read from Acts during this time of Easter. They were nervous. They were confused. They were scared. They endured imprisonment. But it didn't stop them from delivering the word of God to the world. And it didn't stop their faith.

The Gospel today for the Sixth Sunday of Easter is from Jesus' Last Supper Discourse in John where He tells the apostles He will not abandon them. He tells them that He is sending "an Advocate" which we know is the Holy Spirit. He is comforting them because they are about to be sent into the whirlwind of Good Friday. He gives us this comfort and assurance now, too, even in this time.

The psalm today, too, references a time when God delivered and saved His people with the Exodus from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. Reflecting on these moments of deliverance and promises fulfilled do help to give me assurance and comfort and hope as we continue to quarantine.

Finally, today is a special day because it is the 6th anniversary of my friend Dan's death. I am struck every year with how this anniversary often falls around the Ascension. It seems this time of year is always a joyful yet bittersweet time of year. My friend was always full of joy and love for others but we miss him dearly and wish that he was still with us. The apostles, too, loved Jesus and wanted Him to stay with them, but His mission was complete at the Ascension. My friend, too, leaves a legacy that my friends and his family try to spread the good news of continually, especially on this day.

My college friends and I will be celebrating with a Zoom call this year, but we always join in prayer and raising a glass for him on this day. I know that Dan is our own "advocate" in heaven.

Dan and I during Senior Week at CUA. 

A phrase that Dan and his friends and family used during the time of his leukemia was a paraphrase from a quote from St. Julian of Norwich: "All Will Be Well". What a perfect reminder then and also now as we continue to await an end to quarantine, the feast of Pentecost, and ultimately our own ascension.

All Will Be Well. Happy Sixth Week of Easter (and tenth week of quarantine...)


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