What an odd week this has been.
For two of the Abrahamic faiths, this is one of the most important weeks on the calendar. Passover and Eastertide center on God’s deliverance but are remembered in community…neither were intended to be celebrated in isolation.
This is the week I usually spend a lot of time at church. Midday services during the week. Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. The Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday night, then of course church on Sunday. Last night, I watched a Good Friday service from my laptop. What a peculiar year this has been…
I miss flying. I miss my favorite coffee shops. But most of all, I miss church, which has sensibly been online-only for the last month. Can you imagine hundreds of people getting sick from one person? It may happen every flu season, but I am happy that most churches, synagogues, and mosques have wisely not served as incubators for this virus during a time of heightened public tension and concerted efforts to “flatten the curve”.
And I wish I could say the extra time at home has given me more time to eliminate hurry from my life and come to appreciate and ponder life’s greater meanings, but I’ve been as busy as ever with my import/export business as we have shifted into the acquisition and distribution of personal protective equipment…in fact, I haven’t watched TV or Netflix or a movie in over a week.
When COVID-19 broke out in the United States, you may recall my initial reaction was to downplay it. And while I still question the sagacity of some measures we have taken, I’ve joined the bandwagon to the extent that I am doing my upmost to limit all contact with others to avoid catching this virus or spreading it if I happen to be an incubator.
I had really hoped that this virus would give me time my time to take a breather; to sleep more and to catch up on long neglected projects like sorting through my junk and even working on the backend of this blog to make it more user-friendly. That really has not happened yet, though Heidi and I have been working very hard to organize every drawer and cabinet inside the house and I did spend some time out in the garden earlier this week.
When I talk to friends and family, I hear most are just sort of sitting around and chilling. Part of me desires that chance. I’d love to spend my days perfecting my latte art and reading my stack of books that have piled up. Instead, I’m still churning out four blog posts despite decimated revenue (“labor of love” I keep repeating to myself) and putting in 10-hour days in the office (no employees anymore at the office, but my three-year-old makes work at home difficult…). I guess I should be thankful that Award Expert is on hiatus…
I guess my point is that it really set in this week how life has changed. Yes, my favorite restaurants and coffee shops are closed. Yes, I don’t visit friends or airports anymore. And yes, I have not even been to church in four weeks. But by going into the office and staying very busy, life has not changed all that much. And yet spending Holy Week at home…what an odd week indeed.
Can you share the link to your import business for PPE? Do you source isolation gowns? Any sort of semi water repellent material would work. Fit does not matter.
Spartans Trading. You can reach out to me with specific item needs and I’ll do my best. Usually depends upon the lead time you need, not whether I can source it. We just closed an isolation gown deal and product is available.
I echo your sentiment about things not having slowed down they way one night have thought they would. I find myself just as busy … perhaps busier, simultaneously having to be a husband, a father, an IT specialist (someone needs to keep our home connected to the Internet, Zoom meetings running and random software issues at bay) and a homeschooler all while trying to work from home myself. And I wonder if this won’t feel like a missed opportunity when this is all over.
We’re not at all a religious family. But it was nevertheless very weird not joining my wife’s family for seder or being able to sit shiva when her mother’s cousin passed away recently. And we’re trying to pull it together so that our kids can celebrate Easter (in our own non-religious fashion: egg hunts, egg dying … ).
Still, there are the small things, like family walks with the dog. And I do very much appreciate that my wife and I both are in situations where our paychecks are coming in uninterrupted. Too few people can make that claim these days, unfortunately. So I feel pretty lucky.
And, of course, I appreciate coming here to read your blogs, Matthew. Even if I can’t travel, I enjoy thinking about it. So, thank you! Happy Easter to you and your family!
Thanks for your comment and for always reading, Shawn. Happy Easter.
Mine has been a mixed bag as to your experience. Some days are chaotic and work filled and others are relatively quiet. The hardest part for me right now is, when, how, where…will it all start again? A month? Two months? Six months? How does one build models around your business for this and what can we expect?
I have days where I am optimistic and the next will see only doom. It’s a dance. Reminds me of my first real girlfriend in college.
With that, Happy Easter, and thanks for giving us something here to read and comment on. I have always felt an affinity for your posts as they are done in the context of a real life. And, well, is anything more real than now?
Happy Easter Stuart!
I enjoyed this thoughtful essay. I’m married to a minister, so like yourself I’m feeling even more off-kilter this week than usual. I’m still trying to stay positive, and I have multiple trips planned for later this summer—June, July, and August, though the June one seems most likely to be canceled.
Here’s hoping there’s a summer lull, or a vaccine, or a miracle. And thanks, as ever, for sharing your life with us through your writing.
Thanks so much Eric. Oh, and I need to go back and answer your coffee question from earlier. My tastes have evolved! 😉
Happy Easter Matthew!!! As a catholic my family is also missing going to church every Sunday. Our church has done a great job in live streaming masses on Youtube. It is sad to see an empty church but at least we feel part of it.
I hope we both can soon be back in church!
I’m non-religious but I feel sorry for those who aren’t able to observe and celebrate in the usual way. I do miss going into churches and other places of worship, as it’s a central part of my travel: I rarely pass up an opportunity to enter; I’m keenly interested in religious history and architecture.
6-9 months, maybe a little longer, and we should see some light in the tunnel.
Thanks for being a loyal reader Paolo!
Thanks for continuing your blog in these tough times, Matthew. It’s the first one I read most mornings.
We just had a meaningful online Easter service with about 30 people in the US, Canada, and Zambia. We are all connected by time we’ve spent in Zambia. While not the same as an in person church service, this would have never happened if not for COVID-19.
Have a blessed rest of Easter with your family. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
Many thanks Dan. I’m glad that COVID-19 has indeed provided new opportunities to connect. Hope you had a wonderful Easter.
I’m relatively new to your site; greatly appreciate your insights and balanced reviews and writings.
Thank you for recognizing Easter.
Have a blessed day, looking forward to more travel updates as we get going in the air again!
Thanks for reading Alan!
Not being the least bit religious—if anything anti religion—I appreciate the break the blog provides from work, that even now, you’ve managed to keep it going with amusing, informative, and most important interesting things. Looking forward to when we can all talk about concrete travel plans
Thanks Cy. Glad to provide a distraction!