Last Sunday was sunny and HOT. We had our big green tent canopy set up, and had positioned chairs in the shade, in anticipation of our outdoor church service. The service began, and the chairs filled up. More chairs were fetched as more people showed up, and eventually there was no more room in the rectangle of shade for any more chairs. I found myself sitting in the sun, and decided to be okay with getting a little burnt.
Then suddenly…I was shaded! A dear Dale friend stood over me, holding up an umbrella. I demurred, as he seemed intent on standing there, holding the umbrella for the duration of the service! So instead he handed it to me, and returned to his chair. I was overcome with gratitude, as I was covered in shade.
One of the things that I love most about The Dale, and that I have missed most during much of COVID, is the way that we take care of each other. This mutuality is core to our philosophy, and has been tricky to live out during this pandemic.
Usually we invite people to help cook our community meals, set tables, do dishes, play music, share wisdom during our discussion-based Bible studies, exchange the peace with a hug or a handshake etc. Nearly all these options have been either eliminated or altered during the last 16 months, and that’s been hard. Don’t get me wrong- as a community we have found ways to both give and receive. But it’s just not as straightforward as it used to be.
Now that many of our folks have been double vaxxed and restrictions are loosening, it feels like we’re starting to see more opportunities for mutual care. Like an umbrella on a sunny day 🙂