It’s the Little Things
By Penny Wiegert
Even though the pandemic is not what you could call completely over, we as a society are emerging from its cautions and restrictions. And through that emergence, I am finding that the little things we take for granted are not so little and give the most meaning to our lives.
In-person meetings are now replacing those taking place on the computer. The “virtual” meeting as it is most commonly referred to, is and was a great alternative to getting folks together. Computer gatherings have the great advantage of efficiency by saving time because no one has to take time away from their routine for the travel to and from the meeting and can even involve more people because distance doesn’t matter. 
A little meeting
During the pandemic I have a group of colleagues from across the country and beyond (Oregon to Washington, D.C. and Rome) that decided to gather because we were all struggling with work and family stresses brought on by the coronavirus crisis. We have known each other for years, even decades in some cases, and thought meeting once a week would be a little thing that might be helpful. We supported each other during the ebb and flow of the demands of our work and shared ways to operate efficiently during the pandemic challenges in our work for the Church. And of course, we also shared family moments that make us who we are. 
As the weeks of the pandemic closures turned into months, none of us considered that our little meetings would turn into something beyond helpful; they would become a tonic. Through these meetings we have shared moments of sadness, anger, disappointment, and much laughter. In a way that we never had before, we were able to share and take part in one anothers’ retirements, birthdays, anniversaries, sickness, health and even death and grief. 
Our lives have been greatly enriched by having had the opportunity to share, on a weekly basis, all the moments that make up a life.
We may have missed the opportunity to throw our arms around our friends who retired, who had surgery, who won a major award and who buried her mom, but we realize that our little weekly opportunity for computer contact made a difference.
A little sugar and caffeine
Another resurgent activity took place for the first time in almost two years at my parish this weekend. We had coffee and donuts after Mass! (And the exclamation point is deserved). 
In regular times, little things like donuts and hot cups of freshly brewed coffee are good treats but are really not considered a big deal.
But after months of masks and separation a little sugar and caffeine is a grand excuse for getting reacquainted through in-person conversation and good old-fashioned uncovered smiles. Old parishioners met some new ones, old ones caught up with each other, a baby was passed around, and everyone was grateful to have the opportunity to gather and speak to the priest with more than just hello and goodbye. The warm feeling that was passed and shared didn’t come from the coffee or the weather; it came from each person to the other — a little thing I understand now more than ever as the greatest of things.
A little prayer
Now that we can possibly take a step away from our computers and experience each other in reality and not just virtual reality, my prayer is that this will bring forth a new era of kindness. Perhaps we really can embrace these little things and recognize they really aren’t so little. I pray we can work to mend what divides us and realize the time to reconnect with each other, especially through our common denominator of faith, is now.
I pray we can break from the impersonality of our keyboards and really just talk to each other with tongues of faith and hearts of respect even in times of disagreement. My prayer is that we can use these little efforts to help folks come back to church and return to their faith for their sake and ours.