Finding Comfort in the Familiar…Days 61 and 62

Our weekend was filled with the familiar and this brought me comfort as we continue to navigate an unfamiliar world filled with uncertainty.

Trivia Night- The Mid-West is known for holding trivia nights, a fun way for organizations to raise funds and an enjoyable night out with friends. This year, several trivia nights in our area were rescheduled due to COVID-19. We participated in our first virtual trivia night on Saturday when we gathered with friends, virtually, and answered questions as a team. Although there were fewer questions and we didn’t get any of Debbie’s yummy chocolate chip cookies, debating on answers felt familiar and there were snacks, drinks, laughs and a whole lot of fun! 

Church– Although we miss our Zion Lutheran Church family, worshiping together in front of our TV on a Sunday morning is becoming comfortably familiar. When we return to regular worship I’m going to miss these lazy Sundays where we sleep in, eat brunch (sometimes from Donut King) and snuggle together in the family room listening to the word of God, praising Him in song and remembering our many blessings.

I find joy in the music we sing every Sunday. Last week the hymns during worship were all familiar and comforting. CLICK HERE to listen. From the opening hymn, “From All That Dwell Below the Skies,” to the hymn of the day, “At the Lambs High Feast We Sing,” to the sermon hymn, “Christ is Our Cornerstone,” to the closing hymn, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” all were wonderfully familiar. In fact, I can’t remember a time in my life that any were unfamiliar. These are the hymns from my childhood. They bring comfort and healing and have always been part of me.

Family Dinner- We ended our weekend with a big Sunday dinner. COVID-19 has my family of three preparing meals together and eating them every night around our kitchen table. Tonight we enjoyed homemade smoked sausage (leftover from Zion’s sausage supper), mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and green beans. The menu was familiar and took me back to my childhood as this was one of my grandmother’s favorite meals. She prepared it often with sausages bought at a wurstmarkt. The meal also warmed me with more recent memories of our church’s annual Sausage Supper, held a mere three months ago, in February. Although the day felt ordinary at the time, I would give anything to return to that moment. A morning spent worshiping with my family of three in our physical church building, a non-social distanced sausage meal enjoyed with my parents and then serving sauerkraut next to dear members of my church family. There were no masks and plenty of hugs!

 

 

 

 

An Easter Sunday in Isolation…Separate But Not Alone

This Easter is like no other we have ever experienced. I should have been singing in the choir at our 11:00 service, marking my first Easter singing with the treble choir at church. Instead I sang with my family of three as we sat on the couch in our family room streaming Zion Lutheran Church St. Charles’s worship service through our TV. While COVID 19 shuttered the doors to physical church buildings around the world it did not cancel Easter or close church. It didn’t stop us from getting out our alleluia shakers and saying He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Although this Easter was different in so many ways, at the same time it was oddly familiar. As we sang all of the Easter hymns I grew up with, from the opening hymn, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” to “This Is The Feast” to the closing hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today; Alleluia,” I was transported back to my childhood. To an Easter where I worshiped with my parents and maternal grandmother at Zion Lutheran Church in Belleville. It could have been any Easter in the early 1980’s. I would have been in elementary school, third, fourth or fifth grade, it doesn’t matter as they would have all been the same. Me wearing a dress that I couldn’t wait to get out of, sitting uncomfortably on the hard pew daydreaming about the Easter eggs, candy and toys that would occupy the rest of my day. But the music always drew me back in. As we sang from the blue LCMS hymnals I hung onto every note. My mother’s beautiful voice, the organ and occasional trumpet, brought me comfort and embraced me with loving arms. God didn’t bless my grandmother with an angelic voice but as a life long Lutheran she belted out each note with Lutheran pride. I admired her tenacity and unwavering love for her church. Although she has been with Jesus for thirty-three years, I felt her presence today as we sang “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds.” As my daughter fell asleep in my lap I was transported back to the present, the first Easter in my daughter’s young life that she won’t be able to celebrate with all four of her grandparents. Although we took an Easter meal to both sets of grandparents this weekend and each one had a surprise Easter egg hunt for her in their yard, we weren’t able to be together and that bothered my daughter. It felt weird to be so close to our loved ones, yet so far a part. In keeping with proper social distancing there was no physical contact on our short family visits and no comforting hugs due to COVID 19. This historic time of isolation will change us all. And as a result my five year old daughter will grow up with a greater appreciation for worship and devotion, family dinners and comforting hugs.