3.9.20 The Before Picture

20.03.09 Balloon Pastor AmbulanceAs I was heading down to the corner, I heard an ambulance going down the road and looked up to see several runners stopped at the corner watching it go west. I often see ambulances and pause in my waving to share prayerful thoughts with the medical team and person inside. It seems like a particular apt image for today. The illustrious golden skies of soaring 70+ temperatures–a brilliant day of sunshine right alongside the reality of our fragility as the ambulance rushes by.  So many people out and about enjoying the weather, and no doubt also wanting to soak in every bit of it before a possible quarantine and pervasive state of emergency.

As I walked past Vantage House, a woman offered, “Glad you are heading out on duty!” People generally were upbeat today, no one mentioned the coronavirus or alluded to the larger doom that is occupying our screens. On the contrary, one could be waving on the corner and not have a clue about the virus frenzy. A man yelled from a passenger seat, asking me what I was doing. At the mention of joy, he gave me the thumbs up.

A little surreal–is this the  “before” picture of our out-and-aboutness before we head toward increasing caution? Now more than ever perhaps joy needs a place on the corner.

What will tomorrow hold? Our church continues to consider our preparedness and cautionary measures–encouraging folks to be prudent, and longing to still be able to conduct the more personable aspects of community life. My husband and I continue to try and talk to our young children about what is happening in ways that aren’t alarming.

At the conclusion of my time, a parent on a bike with a baby carriage came back by to cross the road. The little child in the carriage, likely just shy of two saw me waving and kept repeating the word: “balloon” with excitement. I asked the parent if the child might like it and he was grateful to receive the light blue balloon to offer to her. It fit right in the little blue carriage before they biked out into their evening.


I likely won’t be offering balloons or much of anything hand to hand in the time to come. How precious all the little interactions become as we consider that they may be curtailed any minute. One day at a time…continuing to wave from a place of joy that meets us in our fragility.



Published by Rev. Claire Matheny

Pastor | Kittamaqundi Community Church | Columbia, Maryland

2 thoughts on “3.9.20 The Before Picture

  1. Love this. Love our KC community. And love this sojourning young pastor who dares to share a little slice of joy on a busy street corner to a frenetic and fearful world


  2. Beautiful, Rev. Claire. Such an uplifting and smiling concept. The old SNAG group is considering a reunion on the last Sunday of this month. Another unique and beneficial idea of yours that keeps rippling out with benefits. Thank you!
    Bev Stanford Stearns. 👍😊


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