One way I have experienced the impact of COVID-19 is the sensation that my work is simultaneously required to be both faster and slower than usual.
The need to have a rapid response came primarily in regards to worship and other church gatherings. Skyland decided on a Friday (the 13th) not to hold worship the following Sunday. We scrambled to adapt. We posted video. We signed onto our WNC Conference’s Zoom account (Thank you WNCC!). We changed how meetings were held, and the agenda for these meetings was all new material. Sermons, music plans, and programming plans were all cleared off the table and we started from scratch. For an organization that sometimes has to hold meetings in order to hold meetings in order to decide what will happen six months from now, this all happened at breakneck speed.
At the same time we were making all these changes, I felt like I was running uphill in sand. Church runs in weekly cycles and we were making new decisions involving how we did church things multiple times in a day. Communicating these changes with the congregation felt like we were sending these communiques on a steam ship across the Atlantic. Getting online with a video, for example, seemed to take forever. Instead of making a verbal announcement in the sanctuary and being done with it in 10 seconds, now it was taking me 45 minutes, from the time of writing, to shooting, to editing, to posting, to produce 1 minute of YouTube video. (I might have impossible standards because I watch too much TV.) A full two weeks in, and we are still onboarding people into what’s going on, and how we’re doing things.
Theoretically, when one approaches a black hole in space, the gravitational pull will stretch a person so violently that if one were to go in feet first, one’s feet would be accelerated so rapidly that they would be pulled off the body before the head knew what was happening. That is a convoluted way of saying that not only has COVID-19 impacted everyone differently in terms of what we do; but, it has also impacted how we experience the time in which we do those things. Even one person like me can think it’s all happening too fast and it’s all happening too slowly at the same time.