Celebrations look a little different right now. In lieu of road trips, packages and cards. In lieu of brunch together, gift cards to restaurants. In lieu of parties, Zoom calls or drive-by parades. There are many things that come into focus as the dust of our overly busy culture settles in the midst of quarantining and “social distancing” — one of those is that human beings are created to celebrate. And because we are created to celebrate, we grieve when celebrations are significantly altered, cancelled, or postponed.
Birthdays, weddings, births, graduations, special holidays — we are all grieving what feels like diminished ability to celebrate appropriately for some of these special occasions. We are still finding ways to mark these days, yes, but there is loss involved. Many expectations and hopes are going unmet.
Despite the loss, sometimes the creativity and persistence displayed to find ways to celebrate brings a surprising sense of significance. When we lived overseas, cooking certain favorites was a challenge — basic ingredients had to be ordered ahead of time, made from scratch, or swapped for the closest available substitution. I found, though, that this added an element of adventure to the whole endeavor, as well as a more intense sense of accomplishment in the end. It was different, it was a bit difficult, but it was still good.
The too-big-for-the-mailbox box shipped with thoughtful presents across states for a birthday, the long line of cars decked out with balloons and posters and friends hanging out of windows to yell greetings, the screen packed with faces of loved ones from all over the world, the meal or treat left outside a door — it’s different and it’s difficult to not be together — but there is still love being lavished, support being shared, and memories being made. It is different, it is difficult, but it is still good.