In the midst of navigating all the changes that have come during this season of life in Muscatine, I keep finding myself confronting the same thought, time and again. I miss…
I miss buying groceries and talking to people at the store without consciously maintaining a six foot barrier. I miss the laughter of the kids at our church, which cannot be duplicated over Zoom. I miss the way that melted cheese tastes on a panini, especially fresh from the kitchen down at Contrary. I miss the smell of my grandmother’s living room. I miss the friends I’d normally be visiting during the summer. I miss the high school youth that I’d normally counsel at camp. I miss visiting people in our nursing homes. I miss doing most of my work with people in person, seeing their faces. I miss quite a bit.
I share these things not to complain, but rather in the expectation that you might be in the same boat. Maybe it’s a grandchild or a job, maybe it’s a routine or a community, but a lot of us have had major changes foisted upon us. And when there’s a lot of sacrifice happening, we usually tighten our belts and muddle through the best that we can. Perhaps it’s the Midwest approach to life that leads to stoicism, but most of us don’t spend a lot of time acknowledging our losses. But I’ll bet that we might find ourselves, now and then, deep into that thought, “I miss…”
If you’re spending time in that head-space, know that you’re not alone. A mentor of mine once told me that when we experience loss, it means that we’ve really loved something. Thankfully, I trust and believe that most of the changes during this time of physical distancing will be reversed, when the time is right. It might well give us the perspective we need to remember what is truly important.
In my life, at least, the things I miss the most are people. And I bet if you’re missing being with somebody in person, it’s likely that he or she feels the same way about you. It’s a powerful thing, just being a normal human being doing normal human things while in relationship to your friends and family. If we take anything away from this miserable time of fear and uncertainty, let’s remember that just by being somebody’s friend, somebody’s sister, somebody’s coworker, we might well be the thing that they think of when that strange thought is in their minds: “I miss…” And the time is coming when we will look back on this COVID adventure not just with the sense of our losses, but with a new perspective on what matters most: the people we will no longer have to miss.