(Honk if you agree that “suddenty” should be a word.)
Yesterday morning, a friend and I left our summer camp grounds to drive into town to get an hour or two or real-world and quiet at a coffee shop before returning to take on the first day of this week’s camp session. 500+ high schoolers were scheduled to arrive in about three hours and we would meet as a staff at noon to get ready to welcome them.
As she and I pulled back onto campus and walked up the hill towards our living spaces, the lights of an ambulance signalled the start of what would end up completely changing our life experience for this week. One adult full-time staff member at the camp had contracted COVID over the weekend and, severely weakened, had passed out and fallen that morning, injuring his head. Several other staff members had felt sick over the weekend and, when all staff members had been administered rapid tests, seven more tested positive. Meetings. Phone calls. Curiosity. Fear. Audibles. Gathering the staff together and telling them that camp would be cancelled for this week. Buses rerouted that were close. Calls to staff that hadn’t yet arrived back at camp yet after the weekend telling them to stay away. Calculations and logistics. Who needed to stay on campus? Who could leave? And like a compromised beehive, within hours of a normal morning’s beginning almost all staff had packed up, jumped in their cars and left camp.
Weird goodbyes. The optimistic hope that we’d see each other again in a week’s time undermined by the possibility of us not being able to return at all. Each to his own place. Camp quickly emptied, powered down, and silenced.
I woke up in a different bed than I was supposed to. Today’s schedule is completely different than it would have been. I’m not doing what I thought I would be. It’s our kitchen manager’s birthday today and instead of getting to celebrate her together and in person in the middle of a workday, I might not see her in person again. The card we got for her is in my backpack, still unsigned.
Obviously, this isn’t nearly as dramatic a shift as many other lives have experienced. But life is a weird, turbulent ride. It’s always a good reminder when things certain change so suddenly. Nothing is guaranteed.