The long weeks of lockdown have been hard. Families have been separated, some generously choosing to live apart for the sake of their continuing work in hospitals or care homes. Lovers have been parted, or thrown together: both testing experiences. Friends have been reduced to raising their glasses on Skype; and the word ‘party’ has taken on a new meaning, in ‘Zoom party’. So relief from lockdown has come as rain in drought: met with relieved delight.
Yesterday our eldest daughter and youngest grand-daughter came to visit from the other side of London. It was indeed an absolute delight; but how strange to avoid the welcoming hug, the natural physical closeness! How odd to have to sit in the garden socially distanced! But how lovely to bring out the ice-cream on a hot afternoon, and the best china for tea! And how lovely to chat and reminisce and enquire about other family members – now re-appearing since the relaxation of travel restrictions. But strangest of all was the sense that I was somehow ‘observing’ these closest of relatives, almost as if seeing them for the first time and trying to grasp, to understand who they were.
In his hymn to love (1 Corinthians 13) St Paul speaks of ‘being fully known’, a spiritual experience we await beyond this life. In that meeting, that reunion, God will be all in all, and we shall know as we are known.