We recently asked Trinity members to share their first signs of hope in the pandemic, what they’ve been looking forward to most on the other side of the pandemic, and what lessons they learned. Here are some of their responses:

Ali Field
My first signs of hope recently are getting my first and second vaccinations, being able to actually hug my parents, my mother-in-law, and the rest of my extended family for the first time in over a year, and not wear a mask around them since we all have our vaccinations, and that there is some progress I am seeing in our nation to address systemic racism.

I am most looking forward to hugging my family and friends every time I see them, seeing my students’ smiles, watching my children just hang out and play with their friends inside and outside and actually be able to have them have sleepovers without worry, and continuing to spend quality time with my family at home and travel with them.

I have learned that we are not the one in control of our lives, that we have to listen and pay attention to the signs that are given to us and work together to problem-solve difficult situations that are brought before us, that we need to give grace to ourselves and others, that laughter is super medicine, that time on Earth is a gift, and spending time with loved ones (human interaction) is so very special and important to maintain one’s health and balance.

Steve Johnson
One of the biggest signs of hope for me recently has been watching our boys play little league again. After more than a year of remote learning, mask-wearing and limited outdoor play dates (that’s 20% of Henry’s life!), it has been great to see them get to do a “normal” kid activity that they love and the smiles on their faces give me hope that children will bounce back relatively quickly from pandemic life.

Two things I’m most looking forward to are: (1) not checking a growing death toll on the front page of the news every morning and (2) the freedom to not think of every person, every interaction, as a potential health threat. And on a more fun note, live music, breweries, dinner parties, sporting events, play dates for our kids! Just living life without the burden of COVID.

Susanne Sawyer
Hope is what we have seemed to have an abundance of during our lives and cling to throughout those lives: hope in an inevitable future, hope for and in our families, hope for and in our country, hope for and in our environment, and hope that we can build a better future for all.

I find since Covid-19 and the varied and various responses to this dreadful pandemic, the politicizing of those responses, the changing protocols as more info was gathered that hope was a fragile thing – lives were lost, confidence in our systems of government were shaken, communities and the joys of sharing times and gatherings were canceled, families were separated, and ordinary celebrations were rescheduled or delayed indefinitely. For some, loneliness abounded, jobs were lost, folks floundered as they struggled to find new ways to manage this new normal as the days dealing with Covid stretched into months.

Such was the planning of our oldest grandchild’s wedding.

The dress was found and purchased, the venue reserved, bridesmaids picked by December 2019. And then Covid struck -the venue was reengaged and the date rescheduled. Originally scheduled for September 2020, it was ultimately and thankfully rescheduled to April 24, 2021.

In January George and I received our first Covid-19 vaccine- our first Pfizer inoculations. I began to think that maybe this important event in our family might actually take place. That maybe our hopes for a spring wedding in Virginia might actually happen. Our granddaughter was realistic and told me more than once that if the variants of the disease continued on the rise, they would just cancel their carefully made plans and get married on some mountain top in Colorado, where they lived.

As more of their family and friends received the vaccine my hopes rose. That dear wedding took place this past weekend and our entire immediate family was present…a time of joy, thanksgiving, great laughter, and much relief.

What I look forward to on the other side of this pandemic is more of the above…time to be with friends and family with the fear and angst of catching or spreading ‘something” no longer a part of our thinking. I sense that whatever we consider this new normal will look like will be different than any old normal we remember! I look forward to having my balance back and I will be careful about scheduling anything old or new as I move through the new days ahead.

I have learned how resilient people are and how hard our church staff has worked to help us stay on the path…on the journey as a church family and how grateful I am for their creativity and ability to think outside the box…to think in such new ways when there isn’t even a box for boundaries. We’ve all learned up close and personal how important the well=being of our neighbor is. I have felt closer to my church family during this strange time and will always cherish the richness of old friendships and the blessing of new ones made.

So where is HOPE in all of the above…the sense I have had that life will go on and that people do step up and into the fray for others, and that people do care and that in the final analysis, hope helps us hold together and to be strong for one another.