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The Bad Dream that Doesn’t Seem to End

May 30, 2020

Another Way for week of May 29, 2020

The Bad Dream that Doesn’t Seem to End

Does anyone else think our life now has a dreamlike quality? Not in a good way as in experiencing a wonderful vacation, celebration, or concert, but hazy and unclear with things changing around you, over which you have little or no control. It’s like a bad, endless dream.

My husband’s therapy office at Center for Hand and Physical Therapy.*

So much has changed. I take a long walk while waiting for husband at physical therapy. I can no longer sit and wait in their reception area or observe and learn from his therapy. If I come in, that’s an extra chair they need to clean, and one more body to count or risk losing their license if they have too many people in the building.

As I walk, I see staff outside the local Department of Motor Vehicles with plastic shields over their faces, like visitors from a distant planet or an old sci-fi movie. The shields at least let you see smiles and read lips if you don’t hear so good. The sign says everyone needs an appointment now. You can book online, the sign says. That leaves out some who don’t have email or ability to navigate online, or access to the technology.

I circle two motels at 8:30 a.m. in this semi-suburban area with townhouses towards the rear. Curious about who’s traveling, the tags at the motels include five from New York state, five from Virginia, one each from South Carolina, Texas, Missouri, New Hampshire. A week ago we ourselves were checking out of a respected hotel chain in northern Indiana after visiting my 95-year-old mother. We stayed at the hotel because my husband brought equipment to use for his ongoing therapy and it would have overloaded Mom’s small space.

The whole time I was at that hotel, I had a nagging worry: were we safe from the virus? Had the cleaning woman disinfected every single thing in our room? Had she washed down the whole bathroom? What about the refrigerator? The microwave? (No complimentary buffet breakfast of course, no coffee in the lobby, no pool or gym room open.) What about the room’s coffee maker handle and buttons, the little paper packets of decaf and regular? It can drive you crazy if you let it, as in that bad dream.

The lobby and the whole hotel were very vacant: maybe two or three other parties staying there. And even the staff were sparse—only one on duty and a housekeeping person who came in if there were guests leaving. We made our own bed.

The sad and scary part is that none of us are waking up from that nightmare, but adjusting to the new altered world we live in. Our church council (Presbyterians call it Session meeting) met on Sunday afternoon (by Zoom of course) looking at how to open our church back up to worshippers, instead of just Facebook livestreaming. The devil is in the details. Who will disinfect folding chairs and hymn books between services?

I feel for the pastor who has the brunt of this responsibility on her shoulders, as well as two small boys at home. I ache for a friend facing few choices at this point in her journey with cancer. And for her husband who cannot accompany her on medical visits. And for my 95-year-old Mom who pulled up her big girl pants when my sister was not allowed to accompany her for a recent X-ray, but she managed to navigate the halls and directions (though hard of hearing and having a difficult time reading lips through masks). But hallelujah, the X-ray showed complete healing from her February hip break. Sometimes even bad dreams have their celebratory moments.

My friend, Carol Honderich who resides in Elkhart County, Indiana, urging all residents to wear masks especially when out shopping. Who could have imagined this a year ago?

You have had your own worries, disappointments, utter fails and falls—your own maze of “I can’t believe it has come to this.”

Hang in there. The refrains from worship services online and beautiful music emanating from Zoom recordings (where you don’t have to worry about infectious droplets spreading from the joyful noise we love to make in worship) can lift us up until we find new paths, new technologies even, to help us navigate this not so brave new and old world. We will persevere. There is hope, there is love, there are still good people all over the world. Time to shake off the nightmare, be kind to each other, conquer this beast of a virus.





Any dreams or nightmares you want to share?

What have been your encouraging moments?

What are you learning?


Comment here or write me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

* Stuart’s first physical therapy place for his knee surgery closed down about two weeks into the overall shutdown. We were then thrilled to find Center for Hand and Physical Therapy still open, and are receiving great care following CDC cleanliness and about keeping space and washing hands.


  1. I have not ventured out of the city limits since mid-March. You have given me a graphic description of what we may face. Perhaps I’ll wait awhile.

    Tomorrow our “church-in person” opens with multiple safeguards. We have had to register online so capacity can be controlled, and the service will continue to be live-streamed for those who don’t want to venture out.

    These are surreal times indeed. However, if the pandemic had struck ten years ago when we had few digital connections, we’d be in a worse “fix” indeed.

    Timely post once again, Melodie.

  2. Wow, that’s pretty good–not getting out of the city limits. But you do have lots of family and lovely surroundings there to keep you buoyed. Our oldest daughter had to take her youngest son for a well baby check and shot yesterday, and he was quite fearful of all the masks. Yet with her calm talking and letting him see himself on our Marco Polo app that he loves (loves seeing himself and smiles and says hiiii… so sweetly) that he overcame his initial “what is this world?”

    It sounds like your church is opening with good cautions in place. We won’t open until at least July because we’re having work done after a flooding Easter evening from a poorly managed roofing fix. Luckily, insurance is paying for most of that. Carry on.

  3. permalink

    Please change my email address to My Comcast account has been hacked! LaVon Kolb

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  4. Beverly Silver permalink

    You expressed what a lot of us are feeling. It is sort of like “being in limbo”. Schedules for some of us are basically non existent, It is a holding pattern and we don’t know when and how we will be landing! Thanks. Beverly

    • Beverly, thanks for commenting. I don’t know if you still get the DNR but LuAnn Austin had a column this week that talked about this being “liminal space.” A time between things. It brought kind of a new thought to the holding pattern that I had not recognized. It has made alot of us stop and think about the world, our health, our loved ones in new ways. And thanks again for checking in.

  5. Sue Sparks permalink

    Our church is opening June 7 for our first time in the parking lot in our cars (we aren’t even suppose to get out) the pastors sermon will come over the radio. We haven’t had it yet so I’m not sure how I feel about it. I guess we can wave at people we know from our cars. Just not the same, I think I’m going to continue watching it on live feed on utube for awhile.

    • I hope folks may be able to visit or at least say hi to others, too, but yeah, I don’t know how I would feel about worship in cars. At least it is a community that way. We don’t mind watching from home, we had a very creative Pentecost Sunday with numerous people who taped messages that were added in to what was livestreamed on Facebook. A number of kids gave prayers during the prayers of the people that way, and it was nice to see the children.

      Thanks for your comment, Sue!

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