Being a Pastor During COVID-19
Friday, April 03, 2020
Hello, everyone. I hope all of you are staying healthy and finding ways to live in this new reality we're dealing with.
It's interesting, because many of us have more time at home than we've ever had--something we've always said would be wonderful--and yet we're not motivated to use it productively. I am feeling this myself--I just can't work up enthusiasm for all the things I would normally love to have time to do--usually I'm an avid reader but I haven't touched a book for pleasure reading. I love to bake, but haven't done so at all. I always wish I had time to embroider, or learn to crochet, and I can't muster up any excitement. I haven't even put out any spring decor in the house--even though it's my favorite time of year and I always wish to have more time to do these domestic things I love. Spring cleaning? Nope. Playing the piano? Not once.
I have been in "survival" mode. My husband has just learned he will be home from work for another two weeks. That will be four weeks total so far. His job is not one he can do from home, so it's like four extra weeks of paid vacation, except that he's on call for emergencies. We are very fortunate, compared to many others who have lost their jobs or had their business forced to close.
But he's here all the time and often needing my help with all the projects he's doing. It's a big adjustment to deal with interruptions to my plans and what I need to accomplish! I'm doing more cooking than I normally do because he's here all the time. I am keeping the house minimally clean and working many, many hours from home as a pastor, and trying to keep up with my online seminary classes. I feel like it's all I can do to keep up with what "has" to be done and there is nothing left of me for anything fun or recreational.
I am working from home all but two days a week but my workload is far more than usual because of the time and effort involved in moving everything to an online format. We are doing full Sunday morning worship services that I tape in an empty church, which is quite strange. We then edit them and add music, etc. and upload them to YouTube. We also do "live" Premiers on Facebook. In addition, I've been doing shorter prayer time videos, Lenten meditations, lots of Facebook posts, an online newsletter, a "Psalm in a Bag" project for the community, and lots more.
All of it is complicated 100% more now because my laptop crashed yesterday. It's only a few months old and still under warranty. This is the WORST possible time it could happen--as I'm trying to do so much work from home and preparing for Holy Week and Easter. I will not give you the gruesome details of all the hours I spent yesterday trying to get help from HP and the extended warranty people. I never did get to a human being at HP and their "virtual assistant" took me through hours of testing and wanting me to reinstall the operating system (no way was I doing that on my own!) and then, when I finally reached the point where I was supposed to get a code I could use to get to a human, the assistant stopped working and cut me off. I have never been so frustrated. I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt because I'm sure things are crazy for them right now. But...how I am supposed to work? We have an ancient computer that Rick uses occasionally. I'm using it now. But it's so slow that's it's almost non-functioning and I don't think it can handle the things I need to do.
I am working hard to conquer my demons of wanting everything to be perfect and am trying not to compare what our church is doing with the bigger and better things others might be doing. Thank goodness I'm in the business of dispensing grace because I sure need some!
Both the county we live in and the one my church is in are not yet on full stay-at-home orders because there haven't been any cases here yet. Our governor is doing the orders on a county by county basis. But all "non-essential" businesses are closed and most people seem to be social distancing as they should. We are watching the virus spread ever closer to us.
The ones who are ill and suffering and the grieving families are heavy on my heart. I don't take lightly what we're dealing with and my complaints and problems are nothing compared to what so many are facing. I simply confess these things here because it helps to articulate them and then let them go....
I am praying for the health, safety, and well-being of each person who reads this. Take comfort in knowing that God knows infinitely more than we do, and has a plan for even times like these. Also, know that he loves you and holds you in the palm of his hand. Blessings.