What a delight!
It took me by surprise, a sense of freedom.
Having submitted my resignation from the position of Director of Music and Worship at a Lutheran church 2½ years ago, there was trepidation: what would I do without that identity? My husband also expressed concern about my life without music. Blessed with good health and adequate resources, I assured myself that we would keep busy with travel, friends, family, and cultivation of new interests. I imagined playing with a band of like-minded baby boomers.
Not long after a joyous sendoff, COVID wiped away all plans. The church itself struggled to find its foothold with a new pastor, novel forms of worship, and postponement of all existing programs, including the search for a new music director. The position remained unfilled as the aftershocks of COVID continued to spread fear. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I jumped in to assist in the interim, continuing to help plan worship and learning new skills to develop music for online and parking lot worship. Yes, there was frustration that I was stuck at home, but the tasks were challenging enough to keep my mind occupied and to keep connections with friends intact.
Adjusting to a COVID-ridden society, the congregation resumed its search and within several months hired a new director. I handed over the reins. I stepped away completely, allowing the new director space to mold the program as he sees fit in an unsteady environment.
I expected to feel consternation. I didn’t. I felt free. For a while. Like that interval between leaving a difficult job before beginning an exciting new endeavor. Once the new job starts, the euphoria dissipates. Likewise, as isolation imposed by COVID persisted, I felt trapped. The travel plans fell flat, aggravated by unexpected health issues requiring surgery and long recovery. My hope to find a group of musicians to “jam” with dissolved amid mask mandates and social distancing. How can I play a flute with a mask?
Life is a mountain range
In the ensuing years, friends have died, family has moved, debilitation claimed travel buddies, while other friends now spend time with grandchildren. Retirement opened our lives, but COVID locked the gate. The limited travel that we allow ourselves seems to end in another round of infection despite restricted activity, prompting me to throw up my hands and declare a moratorium on all plans.
That initial sense of freedom marks one of the mountain tops of life; COVID restrictions were the valley. As the world learns to manage, I feel as if I am now treading a path between the two. Critical issues threaten to plunge the entire earth into the abyss, but for a time, I will enjoy a sense of healthy living.
FYI, that Lutheran congregation is as stable as can be expected at this time. I found a couple of groups to jam with.