Doyt Conn, Epiphany Parish
Practicing social distancing at Madrona Beach. Madrona’s beloved open space is a welcome refuge for house-bound neighbors during the current pandemic.
As the value of work efficiency ascends, there are places that must not fall away: the places where your stories are more important than your contributions. Life, not performance, is what matters. That is the life-giving element of our existence. I call this period of social distancing The Great Timeout. COVID-19 has given us cause to realize just how interconnected we really are, and how attuned to each other—whether we know one another or not—we have to be. I believe this period of isolation will move us from the priority of the “me” to the necessity things are busy down at Epiphany: not bustling, because
there is no bustle with this COVID-19 shut-down, but busy in a virtual way as we adjust to services with cameras, Internet prayer circles through apps, youth group on Zoom, and well, the list goes on and on. Even the kitchens at Epiphany are quiet, with cooking for the homeless now happening at parishioners’
homes. And that’s moved online, somewhat, with donation and volunteer signups now living in the ether. Still, at the end of the day, we see our role as First Responders for the soul. At Epiphany our motto is “relationship is primary,” and that has always been handshake to handshake, until now. So, this busyness really is a learning curve to at least maintain our connections in a new way. Maybe you are experiencing the same thing? One of the things that is so striking about this new way of working is that the Internet is wonderfully designed for efficiency. We get on a Zoom call, smile at one another, lope through the
agenda and say good-bye. Many companies have been working this way for years, but I suspect this corona virus will be a tipping point towards virtual workplace dominance. That said, what I find missing are the impromptu chats before the meetings, where you discover a shared commonality with a colleague. And the reassuring coffee klatches after the meetings, where you both get on the same page. What is lost in the efficiency of the Internet are these non-transactional interactions; the inefficiency, if you will, of a good spontaneous laugh, or tracking—over the years—all the milestones in a co-worker’s daughter’s crew
“I believe this period of isolation will move us from the priority of the “me” to the necessity of the ‘we’…”
of the “we,” and people will re-position themselves toward a life of non-transactional connection as the way of leading the most vital, gratifying life. At Epiphany we seek to be a place where everyone can belong, wherever they are on their spiritual journey. This time of The Great Timeout has inspired us to redouble our efforts toward building and supporting community here in Madrona, and throughout the city. •