The usual pattern of VTS life: Coffee. Chapel. Class. Lunch.
In this pandemic wilderness moment, where I am joining my seminary community via Zoom and FB Live, I could have coffee AND chapel at the same time. Small pleasures, but a pleasure nonetheless.
It is weird to be doing this work from home in Tallahassee. But I am grateful to be here and am thankful that the sometimes isolating and silo-forming nature of the internet is serving its other function: bringing me together with people I know who are 800 miles away. I have accepted this new reality, and am dedicating myself to find the ways that these lemons can be made into lemonade.
I'm grateful that I have a spouse, a cat, and a house. As I remarked in an exchange with a couple of dorm proctors, doing seminary being separated from my family has been hard. If I had attempted to be at VTS when everything is online and still separated from my home, it would have been untenable. It has been hard enough to concentrate as COVID-19 has taken over every conversation and news program. Being able to be at home has helped to lower my blood pressure.
It's also created some new opportunities. My wife has done her Saturday morning worship and I've been able to listen in with her to her rabbi. In turn, she gets to leave her state job (yes, the state of Florida is still making her come into the office!) and eat lunch with me and share in my studying and eye-rolling at having to read David Hume. Aside: I thought Hume and other "Age of Reason" philosophers were deadly boring when I had to read them as an undergrad 30 years ago. They have not improved with my age.
I have picked up more worship with my community by joining in on the "Quarantine Compline" service in the evenings offered by some of my fellow seminarians.
I am also learning how to host Zoom meet-ups myself. I've setting up my phone in front of the television set on weeknights to host "Zooming Jeopardy!" with my dormmates who would normally gather in our common room for a half-hour of game show watching.
I'm very grateful for my friends. The woman who lives across the hall from me was able to get me my computer and notebook that I had hastily left behind at spring break. One of my friends has agreed to drive my car while it sits in Virginia waiting for my return. And still other friends have kept connection through texts and FB messages over a myriad of topics as we navigate our new normal.
Yes, things are strange. Yes, things are uncertain. And yet, it is in these moments that are broken where the light shines in...even through a computer screen. Now...back to reading.
Thanks be to God!