For a short season our littlest one decided almost everything in her life be punctuated with “ta-dah!” Proclaiming “ta-dah” after putting the last puzzle piece in, picking out a book to read, putting on socks, entering into a room, seeing a dog walk by, getting into the bath, hugging stuffed animals, taking a sip of water. You name it, she “ta-dah’ed” it. It was endearing. I didn’t want to squash her enthusiasm of “finding joy in the small things,” and I applaud her for celebrating the ordinary. But I can be a literalist and at times had to restrain myself from letting her know that taking a bite of cracker really doesn’t necessitate a “ta-dah.”
Lately I have realized that I have been longing for a “ta-dah!” moment when it comes to COVID. A moment when I sense, “ta-dah! It’s over.”
This past year we have been collectively holding our breath. Wondering will we get sick and if so, how sick? Will one of our loved ones die from this? Will we miss being with them for their final breath? Will the scaffolding of my carefully plotted childcare fall apart (again) and I’ll be forced to work while handing out snacks? Is my child’s withdrawn attitude going to succumb after they go back to school? Is my furlough really furlough or will it extend to unemployment?
We are longing for a big exhale, a sense that it is finally over.
We wonder: will it come when I am fully vaccinated? When social distancing guidelines are no longer posted everywhere? When we have herd immunity? Will there be a sudden moment when I will be able to watch my favorite drama on TV without panicking as characters shake hands or go in for a hug? Will a sign that it is over be that I lose my reflex to grab a mask as I leave the house?
The past few weeks we have been journeying through Lent and now we are heading toward Holy Week. Lent is a sad story—a culmination of the story of an enfleshed God, Jesus Christ, who receives horrible justice and is murdered. “It is finished,” Jesus states, as he dies. Ta-dah.
But, you say: Lent has a happy ending! Easter is the “ta-dah!” of Lent, not the cross. Yes, in some respects it is. However, more than an ending, Easter marks a beginning—living into a world where death has been conquered, a world of new unknowns. Living into a future not yet imagined is hard work. I take heart that as we look at scriptures, we see that as Jesus’ earlier followers live into this new world, they do not mark it with a sense of victory, deep exhales, and cries of, “it is finally over!” But rather with fear, questions, confusion, and doubt.
I am slowly living into the reality that the “ta-dah” moment is not coming with the pandemic. There is not going to be one moment where I feel like I can exhale and think, “it is finished.” I am a different person than I was a year ago—we are a different community than we were a year ago—and It is going to take time to understand all the implications this has. Perhaps an entire lifetime. Yet, while we might not get one “ta-dah” moment maybe like my daughter we can learn to celebrate little moments along the way. All the while, taking comfort that we are in good company of those who have gone before us.
—Rev. Dr. Kate Guthrie
Ordained in the Reformed Church in America
Serving a PC(USA) church in North Carolina