“We sat around that fire and one by one we went around and we first listed all the losses…”

Today I’d like to tell you what we did to mark the one year anniversary of the pandemic. So we had a fire in our backyard with two other couples that we’ve met with throughout this pandemic with fires in our backyard. And right now all six of us have had two of the vaccines, so we’re fully vaccinated, but we still met in the backyard. We sat around that fire and one by one we went around and we first listed, we just named all the losses that we’ve experienced this year. And these are some of the losses that I’ll relate to you.

One of them was, we lost our cruise to Europe. “I lost,” one of the people said, “my retirement. I’m a teacher and this is not the way last year, I had to retire being shut down and I couldn’t end with my class the way I would’ve wanted to.” One of the couples there lost a sister in law to death, and have to learn now how to be an aunt and an uncle to their children. One of them, one of the couples said the big loss for them was a ninetieth birthday celebration that they had planned for months for their father, and some of their relatives were even coming who live overseas and they had to scrap the ninetieth birthday celebration. One of them said they lost a hundred year celebration for their church and their Dad who is ninety — in his nineties was gonna be a central figure in that hundred year celebration, and that had to be scrapped. One of the people said “I didn’t realize I was so social.” And he was relating how he’s lost all these opportunities that he’s gotten together with friends and he didn’t realize he was so social and missed it. One of the men there said, he’s lost ensemble music. He plays a trombone and he’s lost playing in many groups. One of the participants said they’ve lost singing in choir, and one of them said they’d lost they really miss watching sports in person. Okay, so then we went around and we said all the things that we’ve gained this year or insights that we’ve had this year. And so here’s some of the things that I remember people saying. One of them said nature. They’ve gone on more walks and been out in nature more this year than they ever have. One of them said family ties are stronger. They’re on zoom and FaceTime calls more often and they purposely have those kind of gatherings with family. They all said, this fire, and the friends that we’ve met and our friendship here and the simplicity of just meeting around this fire, not doing anything special, just coming and sitting around the fire, has been a such a gain. One of the people said “I’m privileged. Life is very basic and it’s very sweet.” And one of the people said “I’m gonna be very careful what I say yes to in the future.” Being — having stripped away all the extra stuff, she said “I realized I didn’t really need all of those other things in my life and I’m gonna be careful what I say yes to.” The guy who missed the ensemble music also said that instead of playing in ensembles, he’s been practicing his trombone at home and he’s almost seventy years old and now he’s finally got a — had a chance to learn a technique that he never ever learned before. Many people said that they’ve read more books this year than they ever have and have taken a deep dive into learning things, like race relations, U.S. History, that they wouldn’t have had the time for otherwise. So that’s our covid anniversary remembrance.

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