Everything is Holy Now (Sarah Brandt)

Our Thanksgiving plans have changed, once again, due to COVID. We usually travel to Iowa to see my mother-in-law. My husband’s sister and her family drive from Indianapolis. His brother’s family also drives south from the Twin Cities to join the festivities.
 
Obviously, we did not gather at all in 2020. We did congregate last summer once everyone was vaccinated. It was a blast to finally raise our glasses to all the recent graduates (one 2020 high school graduate, three 2021 high school graduates and one 2021 college grad). We were looking forward to catching up in person over a turkey, corn pudding (a Brandt family recipe) and pumpkin pie.
 
Yesterday, my mother-in-law called to say that although we are all vaccinated, the Delta variant and the sky-high rates of infection in this current surge prompted her to cancel. She will not be taking any visitors at this time. I totally understand and commend her. She is placing her (and everyone’s) safety above tradition. I would much rather be cautious now in order to celebrate many more holidays with her in the future.
 
Both of my sons will come home for Thanksgiving in two days. One from Tacoma, WA and one from Wooster, OH. I am really looking forward to seeing them. I am surprised and amazed by how much I miss them. My husband, Kurt, keeps reminding me to lower my expectations. “Remember how we felt when we came home from college for Thanksgiving? The most important thing was to see friends.” I reply, “I know, I know. I will try my best to not expect too much time with them. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be this excited to see them, I wouldn’t have believed it!”
 
My son, Jonathan, who attends the College of Wooster called last night. The fellow student that he tutors in math informed him that she tested positive for COVID. He met with her last Thursday, they both wore masks and are both vaccinated. It is now Monday and Jon has no symptoms. He had decided to be tested in the morning in an abundance of caution. We discussed that if he tested positive, he would not be able to fly home for the holiday and would need to remain on campus.
 
At work this morning, I was holding my breath today as we waited to hear the results. Thank goodness, he tested negative! He can fly home and see his friends and family without worries.
Although we won’t have the big family gathering this Thanksgiving, I am ok with that. Even the briefest time together is something to look forward to.
 
It seems that this pandemic has reset my definition of what is special. Even the simplest things make me smile. I am content going for long, meandering walks in the neighborhood, picking up trash as I walk along. I want to sit by the fire instead of going out. I am happy with a slower pace. Everything seems special now. I heard a song recently that captures this emotional state.
“Holy Now” by Peter Mayer
 
When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don't happen still
But now I can't keep track
'Cause everything's a miracle
Everything, Everything
Everything's a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn't one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I'm swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven's second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child's face
And say it's not a testament
That'd be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it's not a sacrament
I tell you that it can't be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven's second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is holy now
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