In the last update I, Rev. Donald, talked a little about what the future might look like for The Lunchroom. We hope to be able to start up again in the next couple of months, but while we wait to work out how that might actually happen, I want to write a little bit about isolation.
As a single person, the narrowing of living space during coronavirus has been challenging. Most days I am in my house by myself. I have no partner or roommate. Usually this isn’t a problem. Generally, my days would be punctuated with visits to coffee shops, and restaurants. I go to several places quite regularly.
At these places I get to know the staff. I wouldn’t call them friends, but they are people who regularly travel in and out of my life. There are also co-workers. During the week, I will go and participate in Open Mic nights.
Now, I sit at home. I do on occasion make phone calls to people. My mother phones me fairly regular, but other than that, except for work, almost nobody is in contact with me. There are times when I do feel very much alone in the world.
Yet, I also can’t help but think to myself. This is just a short term situation. Soon, I will be back out and among people. What is life like for people for whom this is their everyday experience, pandemic or not? What about the people who are isolated, not by choice, but by the unwillingness of anyone to give them a place of welcome.
This is what we are hoping to achieve with The Lunchroom@HolyTrinity. Yes, people need the food they put into their bodies. More than that, we all need the food that comes from sharing time together. The brief smile, or the word of encouragement that we both give and receive.
I think now, more than ever, post-pandemic, we need to find new ways to be together. Maybe the groups will be smaller. Jesus spent most of his ministry in the company of just 12. Maybe our large gatherings need to be fewer, so that we can more fully appreciate each other. Maybe, just maybe, we will need to slow down and realize that being together, is so important, that we need to make sure our circles have room to include everybody.
We will use more tables with fewer chairs to make sure people are still able to eat together.