In Lieu Of…

Dearest Rachel –

I’m really not entirely sure if this is the week that Anime Central was supposed to happen. However, since the annual celebration for the church is happening today, I’m going to assume it was. After all, the church had a knack for holding the annual celebration on the same weekend as our local anime convention.

Now, sometimes we would make to the annual meeting, and sometimes we wouldn’t. Most of the time, it all depended on whether you wanted to stick around for closing ceremonies – and the panel at the end of the convention to discuss how things went: what people didn’t like, what could be improved – and you always made a point of letting them know of the things you really enjoyed, too

So yeah, it was a rare thing that we actually made it to the annual celebration.

But of course, this time around it’s a moot point. Anime Central was canceled months ago, and they didn’t have much that would replace it. We barely thought to watch it last year, when it was on – was it Twitch or Discord? – in lieu of actually having a convention. Though what little we did see, it was just so hard to watch. I know we made a point of watching Samurai Dan and Jillian, and you were crying the whole time, because you couldn’t be there with them. It just wasn’t the same.

Of course, even if it were on, it still wouldn’t be the same – and it never will be again. But that’s another story, one that I’ve touched on almost every day in every one of these letters. So there’s no need to belabor the point.

All of which means that, for the first time in some time, I can actually attend the annual meeting/celebration.

Although, in fairness, I thought they would be holding meetings at each campus. Going to Randhurst would be all well and good, but the drive to Des Plaines, well, I was a little less than enthusiastic about.

Perhaps I’m a little bit spoiled at this point, especially since Zoom calls are a thing these days. So I can show up virtually, in lieu of having to actually drive there. Yes, I can rationalize it all I want to: Daniel’s going to be at home, the dog needs to be watched while he takes a bath, that sort of thing. But I suspect you’d consider me to be a little on the lazy side for not driving out to Des Plaines to be there in person.

And, you’d probably be right.

Still, at least I’m here. So that’s something, anyway.

The Zoom format is a little different from the Wednesday evening Bible study. For one, there’s a lot more faces tuning in – the gallery form is filled up several times over. For another, I’m realizing there’s no chat feature. I guess that stands to reason, as there is no need to have people chatting with each other – or trying to communicate with the leaders – throughout the course of the service, unlike the Bible study where people would be asking questions throughout. In this case, it would be more like passing notes between classmates, and that’s something that the teacher – or in this case pastor – would (understandably) disapprove of.

It’s also a little strange trying to figure out how – or whether – to sing along with the praise team. To be sure, I’m on camera by default, so I probably should either be singing along, or I should turn off the camera. Most of the others tuning in on Zoom have… except for my folks and a handful of others… who are also on the older side. Don’t know what to make of that realization…

Anyway, each of the members of the pastoral staff go through stories of lives changed throughout this past year. Yes, live go on, even during a pandemic, and the church still does its work of reaching people for Christ. It’s an encouraging sign to hear of so much being done.

But just as the testimonials begin to wrap up, I can hear a whimpering beyond my computer; Chompers has woken up, and he’s christened the carpet. This is the third or fourth time this week, too, that he’s woken up sitting in a mess. Well, it could be worse. At least it’s only solids,. And at least they’re solid enough that they don’t leave a car a mark on the carpet. All I have to do is wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe spray it with the deodorizer and pat it all dry. It’s still a nuisance, and I still have to take him out, because he still has to pee, now that he’s been woken up.

All of which means I miss out on the discussion of the budget. So hey, I got out of the most boring part, right? Yeah, maybe, but that’s the part that I actually had a hand in putting together, so I’d like to have been there for that. Besides, that’s one of the few things that would be interactive about the whole event – we as a congregation have to vote on approving the new budget, and here I am outside, tending to the dog, and not putting in my two cents worth.

I’m also missing out on half of the message about the year, and the things we learned throughout it. Things like how everyone really does miss that face-to-face contact – although, at the same time, realizing how out of practice we’re all getting at it, especially the younger generation. The fact that we are ridiculously tribal as a society right now… but that it can be expected to eventually work its way back to something approximating “normal.” Scott points out, as evidence, how things were after 911. There was this great groundswell of national unity for quite some time, but within about five years, we were all back to being red state blue state and all those other wonderful little disagreements we all yeah we all tend to have. And he asserts that the same thing will happen to us this time around two. We may be at each other‘s throat‘s right now, but this too will pass.

And of course, this year of Covid has shown him how things can change in an instant. And while that wasn’t what happened with us, well… They certainly did.

Anyway, that’s the general gist of it. It was one more song, and then a prayer, and that was pretty much it. Thanks for coming, y’all are dismissed, and the zoom meeting closes up. Never even got a chance to vote. Oh well, at least choppers is back to sleep again

Oh, as a post script to all of this, I finally got around to looking it up, honey: It turns out that Anime Central was originally scheduled for next week, rather than this week. It’s been quite a long time since the annual meeting didn’t coincide with it. And here we are. Not that it makes any difference whatsoever at this point. Still, there’s a mild irony in it, wouldn’t you say? Don’t know if I’m gonna go online and see if they’re doing anything next weekend. I’ll report back if I do, but I really don’t expect much.

Anyway, that’s how things have gone today. I’m going to see if I can catch a little bit of sleep while Chompers does.

I’ll talk to you later, honey. I love you.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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