This is the traditional season of celebrations. Graduations and weddings fill our calendars this time of year. In my own and my extended family, there are eight birthdays starting at the beginning of May and ending in mid-June. This is the time when we prepare for vacations, reunions, and outdoor gatherings.
But, this year we may not think we have anything to celebrate. Invitations for ceremonies, parties, and receptions are reduced. Events have been postponed or cancelled. We gather virtually and mail our cards and gifts. Fathers hold up signs under the windows of the maternity wards to cheer on laboring mothers and welcome their sons and daughters into the world from outside and a story below.
For as many joyous events, there are many more marked by suffering. Many patriarchs and matriarchs–with and without COVID-19–are passing away without loved ones at their bedsides. As the funeral for a victim of a senseless murder dominates today’s headlines, many more funerals have been and will be postponed.
With COVID-19 closures, we long for an altogether different closure.
We long to celebrate the lives of those slipping away and stolen from us too soon. We may fear the loss extends beyond the grave. When riots in the streets have replaced our block parties, we wonder if we will ever sense community again. We wonder if we ever had it.
What, amidst all the chaos, do we have to celebrate?