By Everett Eastman, from the "Once Upon a Pandemic" service on August 16, 2020
What drove me, scheduling a bouncing day of hospital, clinic, back again? Do As Much As I Can In One Day sometimes rings hollow in the CE, the Covid Era, new normal, pandemic. Bender of human ties, you have many names. Gazing at Our First Lot, familiar, lonely in being filled by not us. I parked early morning, donation to the church, to us, I think. Into the hospital. Processed, sanitized, checked-in, badged, sanitized, find the way, don't touch-oops, sanitized, wandered, don't touch-oops. Sanitized, checked-in, wait and wait, brought back, sanitized. Checked in, informed, injected, informed, instructed, sanitized, released, find the way, don't touch-oops, sanitized, walked out. Repeat again, hours later. It gets old for all of us.
Tired of the grind, wanting respite. Staring at our buildings. Gates closed. Remembered the openness at the end of the lane. Slowly, deliberately walked toward the canyon, toward the tree, toward the window.
See the fullness, and shade, and paned glass. Feeling grateful for the planters and builders whose names I'd forgotten. Turned to see the fountain and rocks, dry and silent. Should I sit? Leftward looking to empty buildings, walkways, stairs, plants, and a river of rock. Should I walk?Should I behere?
Sound of the bell calling me to community. Empty of bodies, echoing with voices. Words and names on walls. Ancestors, my community today, waiting for those who may find a home on this hill, near the sea. Or somewhere. Many somewheres.
Empty chalkboard, children have written and drawn on, have performed in front of. A patio of tables and chairs stored away waiting for another day. Another year? A meeting hall. Low entry leading to vaulted spaces containing high hopes, shattered hopes. Ah, my spot in the sweeping hall, remembered faces so strongly missed, of strangers turned friends and compatriots. Quiet fountain that once accepted my tears in sacred communion with a deeply listening Sensei most Reverend. I sit. And I sit. And I sit.
Rested between rushing and sanitizing. Recalling why this place. And why any place. They are vessels of finding and leaving and returning, or not. Communing. Remembering joy and grief. Giving and receiving and emptiness. Finding and taking in. Giving back for the as yet unknown ancestors whose faces I will never know. On this speck of Blue Boat Home.
Everett has spiritually been a UU for a very long time, but didn't know it until he joined First Church nearly 4 years ago.
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