Blog: Love in the time of COVID

“Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love” and then along comes COVID.

 COVID is a creature of its own, changing formation constantly, it can creep in silently; it can march in with such force the symptoms overtake us. Physically or emotionally COVID will leave a mark on us.

 Love can do the same.

 Love touches us physically and emotionally. Sometimes it creeps in so silently we do not recognize it, and sometimes love marches right into us with such force we cannot deny its presence as we helplessly watch it overpower us.

 In the time of our “new normal” where COVID restricts us, love encourages us. Love empowers us to be creative in displaying our respect and affections for others in a safe environment, be it a video chat on line, tapping toes with the grandkids, bumping elbows with friends, wrapping yourself in a clean sheet just to give a hug to that most special person, or traveling far just to stand 6 feet away to see a smiling face in person.

 This month my family traveled far to see the beaming smiles of our daughter and son-in-law as they exchanged their wedding vows. A wedding in the time of COVID is a strange thing. It alters the questions for sure. I never had to ask at our youngest daughter’s wedding; is it going to be safe enough? Is this going to be a “super spreader”? Are people coming from a state on the “Bad List”? Can one assume everyone there has been doing their part to stay COVID free? The questions went on and on.

 I was hoping she would want to postpone or do a very private and intimate ceremony but at 39 years of age our daughter was having none of that. Her life is moving forward regardless of COVID. The date was picked over a year ago with plans already set in motion.  Invitations were sent with a special card acknowledging and understanding everyone’s decision to attend or not, for we all have our own families to protect and jobs with travel restrictions and quarantines.

 When the big day arrived and I finally stepped foot on the property, it calmed most of my fears. The venue is perfectly nestled on 53 acres of pure Tennessee beauty, complete with rolling hills and colors only God could paint. An outdoor ceremony was followed by an inside reception in a 5000 square ft room spacious enough to hold 4 times the number of guests.  The banquet room on one whole side opens to the great outdoors, while the backside has a huge patio, hosting the ever-embarrassing photo booth, (who doesn’t take their best picture posing for that camera?) and a bonfire to make your own smores, or my personal favorite, a perfectly charred marshmallow. The room was big enough to create your own dance floor in several locations.

Even with the very real and ever-present threat of COVID, this still was the wedding of our daughter’s dream and everything I had hoped it would be for her. I am so glad she did not let our new normal deprive her of this day. There is no guarantee the same concerns will not be here next year.

 Guests came, with and without masks. Respect was given to all. Plenty of room to choose seats.  People tended to stay in their comfort groups all the while enjoying the celebration. Precautions were taken as best they could, masks were made for the special day, tables were spaced far apart, hand sanitizers located throughout, fresh air circulating, all in hopes that COVID does not creep into our lives.  Yet, those masks come off to eat and drink and rarely go back on.

 Weddings are a celebration to bear witness of love, and because we believe love conquers all, and the fact this is our daughter, we took that chance. Being with family and friends (and I do have the best of both) is really what makes life go round. Many could not physically be there, but they did not miss the celebration, they participated on zoom, laughing, and crying with us as together we witnessed this important day.

 As we distance the days from the wedding, the question still looms over us, how many may get infected. Time will tell, so far, love is winning.

By Katie Michel