New York Times Op-Ed: Three Habits My Family Started in the Pandemic That We Want to Keep, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):
As I reflect on the past two years, I think of (at least) three practices that my family and I have taken up that I hope we continue.
First, in the early days of the pandemic, when my family of five abruptly found ourselves crammed into a small house, we developed a practice of having tea around 4:30 each weekday afternoon. With cookies, Earl Grey, juice for the kids and sometimes a shot of bourbon for the adults, we talked about what worked and didn’t work that day. We would ask one another, “Who do you need to apologize to or reconcile with today?”
There were days we felt like sardines — crabby, stressed out, Zoom-depressed sardines. There were days when every single person in the family (except for the 5-month-old) had to say “I’m sorry for …” or “I forgive you” to every other person in the family. ...
As Covid precautions have changed, we have been less intentional about our reconciliation teas. But I hope to carry this practice and intentionality (intentionaliTEA?) with me even into this next normal. We don’t make purposeful time for reconciliation every day now, but I’d like to make it, at least, a weekly rhythm.
Second, a month or two into the pandemic, as it became clear that seeing people outside was a safer way to interact, we began to center our nights on our backyard firepit. We would invite people over and eat meals outside, socially distanced, around the fire. Sometimes we roasted marshmallows or hot dogs. Of course, I’ve hung out around fires before, but never as often as during Covidtide. It is a deeply human and humanizing activity. Our ancestors sat around fires for hundreds of thousands of years, but I had somehow lost this ancient custom. ...
My personal rediscovery of fire was a delight. I found again and again that something about those flickering flames brought easier connection with others. ...
Lastly, hiking had long been a favorite family activity, but Covid took it to a new level. With city playgrounds shut down and a longing to be out of the house, we bought a hiking pack to carry our baby with us and hit the trails. We are not hard-core. We have little kids who dawdle and backtrack and sometimes whine. At times it’s too hot. At times it’s too cold. At times we get 20 minutes into a hike and think: We should have just stayed home and watched TV.
But there are days when we leave the trails exhilarated, having seen something extraordinary or beautiful. ... It’s always a risk heading out to the trail, which is why I’m glad it’s a habit that we formed. So I hope we keep this up, even now, when it’s more safe to be inside with other people again.
Other New York Times op-eds by Tish Harrison Warren: