I. Miss. You.

I miss you.

I woke up Wednesday morning missing you so badly, it’s a wonder you didn’t look out your window and see me outside, just driving from one member’s house to another. I miss the hugs and handshakes as you left the sanctuary after the worship service, I miss laughing in the fellowship hall. I miss sitting across from you at the table in 106, and stealing chips from you at the picnic tables.  I miss getting pictures from your kids.

Look, I’m not telling you this to bring you down. But I think that sometimes we just need to “say what is so” for us, and admit that covid-19 just stinks, and while we’re keeping our chins up and carrying on, sometimes we get sad, too.  I do.

I miss the members whom I have known since I arrived at Live Oak in April 2014 for candidating week (and a few more I knew before that, as they served on the Search Team.) You brand new members, and visitors who were starting to consider whether Live Oak was “your place” – boy, I miss being able to get to know you in person, having those casual little chats on a Sunday where we found out more about each other. And everyone who arrived at Live Oak in between 2014 and now.

I miss y’all like crazy but you know what? What we are doing right now, of gathering together online and physically distancing – this is brave. And self-sacrificing. We are learning new ways of being generous, as we wear the uncomfortable mask in order to protect those around us.

And I want you to know that I see you. You who always hated the computer, but now are getting on regularly to connect with other members. You who get onto Facebook to check in and see how others are doing. You who are keeping our church going, thinking through the business of the church and the things we need to do like stewardship and processing pledges (and thank you for continuing to pay your pledge), and dreaming up new things we can do together this year, while keeping everyone safe.

You are making Live Oak a stronger church. Thank you! I miss you, but I am so glad you’re safe from this terrible virus. Take courage friends, for in keeping your relationships strong and our members safe, you are doing heroic work! The day will come when we gather together in person once more, and your patient heroism of these days will be lifted up in celebration.

So glad to be your minister,

Rev. Joanna