“It’s five o’clock somewhere” he said. Those were the words that my 11 year old said one weekday morning last April, 2020. We had already been about 3 weeks into the pandemic. I had 4 kids trying to get into the whole ‘remote learning’ thing. Each morning I felt like somebody plugged in the machine. I was the pinball that was being cast upward through the shoot then falling haphazardly until it dropped ever so quickly into the hole; Over and over again throughout the day. I yearned for the night time when I was finally able to ‘unplug’, close my eyes and fall asleep.
It was those words of my son, “It’s five o'clock Somewhere” that set the tone for each day following. And, those words that made me realize just how little control I had over most things. The days were no longer about getting through the daily schedule of multiple tasks and being on time for the many Zoom meetings. The days were about just getting through. And, it wasn’t about getting to finally drink that glass, or I should say, glasses of wine, It was about acceptance. I quickly learned that nothing would make our days better other than the sole acceptance of God’s will for our lives. So much was taken away from each and every one of us. The maintaining control of our days was no longer ours. I began to wake up each morning with a different attitude. Instead of ‘plugging in’, I just said: “Thank you God, I surrender. Now, coffee please!”
As the days went by, I slowly began feeling less stressed. Perhaps I was finally getting the hang of the various school accounts and passwords for the kids. Or, maybe it was that they were becoming more capable of being independent in their work. Perhaps it was neither one of those things and just the fact that my shift in thinking was now carrying me through. Knowing that if I just let go, God would swoop down and just carry me.
When we got to the point in the pandemic where things would be getting back to ‘normal’, I could not wait to jump back into the outside world with both feet. I was so excited to be able to go to a grocery store, a restaurant, the dentist, and especially back to church. Being a part of the wonderful group of volunteers who helped in greeting, ushering, and cleaning was an extremely rewarding experience. In fact, as I look back at the past 16 months, it was one of the best things to come from a very sad and difficult time. I loved being able to get into the church early and enjoy the peace that the dimly lit alter revealed. I loved looking at the list of registered attendees and check them off as they walked into our home away from home.
Seeing so many smiling eyes and being able to put a name with those who were so familiar to me. All of my fellow parishioners felt like good friends that I hadn’t seen in years! Sharing stories of the pandemic and how all of our lives have changed made me feel so connected to our Holy Trinity community. Volunteering to help during the sacramental masses was my favorite. I felt as if every time Fr. Rafal presided over a wedding ceremony I was renewing my vows all over again! His homilies were so meaningful to me. The funeral masses were a way for me to not only show comfort to those mourning by making the masked experience easier to navigate but a reminder of all of those I’ve loved and lost in my life and a renewed hope of the Resurrection. The baptisms gave me such joy and a renewal of my faith. A reminder of what God asks of us….. to love Him and to love one another. Volunteering at our church is a wonderful way to do what comes natural; serving God.
The comfort that I have from being a part of our wonderful community has provided me with such a sense of peace in knowing that God is in full control. This past year has helped me to realize that our glass is not either half full or half empty, it is absolutely overflowing. Much like God’s love in our lives. It’s when we surrender to the fact that God’s ‘got this’, we find room in our lives for all of the things that are truly important; Loving and serving God and others…. and, of course a glass or two of wine. After all it is five o’clock somewhere!
Lisa Ryan is a Holy Trinity parishioner and Holy Trinity School parent. She volunteers at Masses and she and her family are heavily involved with school functions.
Sun: 7:00am, 9:00am, 11:00am
Daily Mass - Mon-Sat: 8:00am
Confession - Sat: 2:45 - 3:45pm
Holy Trinity Catholic Parish
25 East Richmond Street
Westmont, IL 60559