Pandemic Changes Worth Keeping

As we become vaccinated and are more comfortable venturing out, the question that begs an answer is this: Which life changes from your pandemic times do you think you’ll continue?

Allison and Nate Tyler were forced by social distancing to re-consider end-of-the- week-winding-down options. What used to be a meal out after a work week slowly became a special meal in. Pizza is ordered on Fridays to increase the relaxation aspect; furniture is moved and a blanket is spread in front of the TV in preparation for a movie night. The practice has been such a success that daughter Leah often asks if it’s Friday yet. It will be worth continuing even as they are no longer feeling locked down.

Randy Stoesz says that he and Ellen were missing their old neighbors, Becky and Mike Wigginton, so they got together one Sunday afternoon for a hike at a spot new to them all. The hikes and outdoor chats became a regular practice. Most of their hikes this year have been within a half-hour drive of Indy, yet they went to many places they’d never been before. It’s been fun for them to explore some of the natural parts of Indy and surrounding areas that were unfamiliar prior to the pandemic. They think there are more places to discover and will continue meeting up. Ask the Stoesz and Wigginton crews about their favorite spots!

As with many of us, Paul Shankland began more intentionally planning his shopping in order to limit his entry into people filled places. He is continuing this practice, reducing his grocery stops to about once every two weeks or fewer. He goes a little more often when at their Florida home because they have very little freezer space, but he is still able to limit his visits. Planning ahead has been a positive for Paul, and also saves gas and money.

At a recent forum with caterer Lali Hess of Juniper Spoon, it was mentioned that COVID has changed how people eat, and that this may continue. Since going out to eat was curtailed, many people became more interested in healthier eating and cooking, as well as learning about healthy food preparation. Various Facebook pages cropped up for people to share their creations and ingredients, and families zoomed homemade food options as well. For some, new patterns began and will continue.

I generally travel quite a bit since children and grandchildren live far afield, but last year those trips were suddenly curtailed. Like many people, I made the effort to grow something I could tend and then consume. Since moving to a wooded area years ago I’d given up on gardening. My porch on the south side of the house gets some sun, though, and my COVID garden in porch planters produced wonderful tomatoes as well as various herbs. This year, in spite of the fact that I am traveling a bit more again, I’m upping my vegetable game with an expanded porch garden. I’d forgotten how much I like growing my own food.

Some of you have noticed the move toward societal change as we concentrate on long term issues that could not be dismissed or swept away when our attention was so focused. Many more people have been studying and learning about the history of racism in the US and making efforts to move towards a more anti-racist society. May that continue and evolve into more actions to recognize and address the systemic nature of racism. Recent discussions of policing are an example of looking at a piece of this concern.

People have also been reading and listening to learn about climate change. Let’s continue that awareness and learning, as well as encourage and take actions to address it. As a congregation we considered and completed a solar roof project which will serve us and our community for years to come.

Acts of caring have been plentiful, like connecting on Zoom , offerings of money to the caring fund, checking in with friends and neighbors, providing meals, inviting others to meet safely and a myriad of other things. Through Care Team I have seen so many people going above and beyond. Many of you are not ON the Care Team, but you still share in the caring. That makes all of us a caring team. May we continue to watch out for each other and be generous with our lives.

What have YOU changed that you think you’ll keep….at least a little bit? What did you discover that you now prefer to continue exploring? Only time will tell what lasting changes will occur in our society and our personal lives as a result of the pandemic.

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About the author

Mary Liechty

Mary is trying to make up time with her grandchildren—before the next pandemic shut down.

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