The Prospect of Travel

I don’t think I’d realized how much the quarantines were getting to me until Asbury un-cancelled the on-campus portion of one of my summer classes this week.

Asbury Seminary, along with the rest of higher education, cancelled all on-campus classes for the rest of spring term this year. They had set May 4 as the next date they would reevaluate their condition, including decisions about the summer. As a student in the Virginia Annual Conference, I have to have no more than one-third of my credits be fully online, so I am continually looking for on-campus courses so as to save my online credits for later in the process.

Early in the week, though, they announced that all June campus classes would also not meet, and be entirely online. That certain took out my World Religions class that was due to meet in Orlando the week of June 22. No hope there for an on-campus time. And, I also had an e-mail announcing that my Christian Ethics class would also be online only–despite it meeting June 29 to July 1 in Kentucky.

I don’t think I was entirely surprised, but I was disappointed. I did want to be on campus, and I was really hoping to do that for both classes this summer. So I cancelled my JetBlue reservations for Orlando…but something (someone?) told me not to cancel my Delta reservations for Lexington.

At the end of the week, I had a second message, this time from the Registrar herself: my Christian Ethics class would meet on campus after all. And I was elated.

I don’t think I’d realized how much I want to travel again. I don’t think I’d realized how much I look forward to being able to go on campus: to get on the road, to be among others studying for their own career changes, to fly, to focus…all manner of things I get to do during residential weeks that I miss.

In a related vein, we’re trying to figure out when we can get to Vermont this year, perhaps later this month? But also, what should our next vacation be? I know we can’t go to Europe all the time, and since we just visited the UK in 2019, it’s time for something else. A warm beach sounds really, really good right now. But I can’t even reasonably plan for that, because of the limitations on everything.

I think that’s another effect of the coronavirus lockdowns: the inability even to plan for something that gets us, gets me, out of the house, out of the neighborhood, for the first time in weeks. I think the cancellation of the on-campus classes hit me harder than I had anticipated, and I think it had to do with a sense of “you’re never gonna get out of here, are you” that I think many of us are feeling.

I really wish I knew when all this would end; and I understand the frustration of so many who want it to end immediately. I’m more cautious; I don’t want my own personal desires to get out to contribute to any second round of infections. And right now I’m getting very tired of all the food choices we have for delivery to the house…what I wouldn’t give for a nice dinner out at the Bistro.

I know we have to wait. But little sparks of hope, like the un-cancelling of the campus time for one class, give me encouragement to keep going.

Author: Waiting For Life

Eric became the Associate Pastor of Sydenstricker United Methodist Church in Springfield, VA, in June 2019, as his first appointment on entering the pastorate. He is also a student at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. He's been a Certified Lay Servant in the UMC since 2003 and has been preaching and teaching about Christ since 1995, and answered Christ's call to pursue ordination in 2018. Opinions and posts are my own, not those of Sydenstricker UMC, or the Alexandria District or the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC.

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