COVID-19 Update: During this time of social distancing, we are offering weekly ideas of ways to spend quality time in nature, as well as indoors.
These activities will hopefully strengthen the family bond while remedying the cabin fever we’re all feeling.
Welcome to the Family Life page! We strive to offer multiple events and activities for our church family throughout the year, including the annual hayride, swim and gym, game nights, and more. We also present seminars and talks on topics such as child guidance and grandparenting.
Last week I shared some tradition stand-ins for this season when many of our holiday traditions aren’t happening. Little did I know then that I would be partaking in one of the very suggestions I had written. While at our outdoor Thanksgiving with our best friends, I received a text at 1:56 asking if I would be available to Zoom with family at 2:00. I quickly downloaded Zoom on my phone, and before I knew it, I was Zooming with members of my extended family – seven households across Western New York, Pennsylvania, and my own family here in Michigan. What an awesome surprise! I haven’t seen some of these family members in years. And this is the kind of silver lining I was mentioning last week. Would we have spent that half an hour on Zoom together if we were going about our usual Thanksgiving festivities? Probably not.
This year may be strange and difficult, but there have been some unexpected benefits that have also come with it. Perhaps you’ve seen or experienced this for yourself. I’ve personally experienced an enhanced closeness with my immediate family from having us all together all day every day for the past nine months. We also got to thoroughly witness and enjoy springtime emerging and evolving, because we had the time to walk and explore together during our lunch breaks – time we wouldn’t have had together if we were at our jobs or in school all day. We’ve discovered the range of critters in our own backyard over the course of these months. We’ve learned how to play the ukulele. We’ve had to get creative with our best friends and find many new outdoor places to explore together on Sabbath afternoons. Together we’ve found a favorite beach, enjoyed hours of rock and fossil hunting, discovered new parts of Sarett Nature Preserve, sought after new birds, found cool tidbits of nature, and sat next to each other in parked cars having post-Sabbath snacks.
I’ve also seen many people step up and step out of their comfort zones during this time. Our own worship services and children’s Sabbath schools have showcased much creativity over these months. People have volunteered to buy groceries, deliver supplies, and run errands for those who were isolating. We’ve learned how to use new technologies to connect ourselves and to continue parts of our lives that we couldn’t do in person. Healthcare workers bravely tackled a new paradigm. We all learned what’s most important in our lives. And there’s a rekindled sense of how close we are to the edge of eternity.
Of course, it isn’t all sunshine and roses, even when you’re trying to find the silver linings. There have been some very serious consequences of this time too. And I’ve been moved by the determination, fortitude, and resilience I’ve witnessed. My heart has gone out to all those who have lost loved ones or been unable to visit them in their times of need, as well as those who have found themselves too isolated. I pray you have been the beneficiary of some of the acts of kindness as mentioned above.
As this pandemic continues to weigh down on us, I want to encourage you to look for opportunities to do a new thing. Reach out to an old friend, distant relative, or homebound community member. Explore new parts of your community. Seek out opportunities to be helpful. Learn new things. Involve the kids, too. Show them how to be resilient, to be a good neighbor, to be creative, and to look for the silver linings.