Pandemics, Presence, and Putting it all into Perspective
Time flies and time surely does change things. Thirty-something years ago, while creating a special baptismal gown for my newborn baby girl, I could only imagine that someday she might pass it down to her own daughter. What I could have never imagined was that her daddy and I would not be able to attend the baptism of that imaginary grand baby because of (of all unimaginable things…) a Pandemic. What? You know what else? I also couldn’t have dreamed up the technological wizardry which I so easily take for granted now. I remember visiting a Tomorrowland attraction at Disney World as a teenager. Was I thinking it was possible to have a phone call with someone and see their face on a screen on my wall while we talked? Nope. I was actually horrified that someone might call when my hair was wet or my makeup incomplete. (Gasp.)
Things haven’t changed much in the pride department.
This past Sunday while in full church-ready attire (hair, makeup, and jewelry included), I sat next to my husband on the couch in our Tennessee home and was SO grateful for the technology that allowed us to participate in our sweet grand baby's christening taking place in Cincinnati. As the originally scheduled baptism date came and went, and safer at home orders still firmly in place, we started to accept the likelihood that we would not be attending in the traditional way. With social distancing rules and maximum group gatherings capped at ten, the difficult decision was made to issue virtual invitations for virtual attendance. We gave ourselves pep-talks about previous tech-deprived pandemics, others “worse-off” than us, and gratitude amid disappointment.
All of this got me thinking about presence. Did not being physically present at her baptism make me less or more “fully” present? Being the easily distracted person I am, might I have actually missed the moment by trying to get the perfect picture, looking at the beautiful architecture of the historic church, or even allowing memories of other sacramental celebrations pull my mind from this one? It’s something I’ve been pondering. Like how I haven’t posted much on social media for weeks, or how I posted nothing on Mother’s Day… I didn’t intentionally set it aside, but I have become aware of how in trying to capture moments through media (social or otherwise), I have actually missed many of them. So I made the decision to be intentionally present and savor the moments with our sweet family.
Yes, the world is a different place than it was three months ago, let alone thirty-plus years ago. Perspective is an amazing thing.
Happy Baptismal Day, sweet girl.
Neenie and Papa love you.