“When day comes we ask ourselves,where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”
Despite the well-known struggles of 2020, our year has been full of excitement, joy, and change. Jordan and Gus got married! We shared a coming together that was precluded with much deliberating, some grief, and of course love, handwriting endless invitations, bachelor/ette parties on and off screen, and booking the only place in Idaho Falls that allowed a big celebration that we hoped to host. We postponed a grand party of people (you) whom we love and instead celebrated with Jordan’s immediate family and you on a virtual space. But ultimately, it put forth what we hope matrimony means: though poignant, a sacramental witness by God of his Creation in love. It was the COVID wedding that was perfect in so many ways.
It was mere days after George Floyd died, days before Gus’ Lolo Fred passed away, and a honeymoon shacked up eating take out, watching all of Space Force and the Office. We mostly tuned out the world because though we deserved it, we were in awe in what the rest of the summer became: Black Lives Matter & Manuel Ellis. For us, we didn’t know how to express what was already sanctified: that the color of skin doesn’t qualify love.
We both are blessed in essential (at times emptying) and passionate careers. Jordan serves others as a public health nurse of Tacoma-Pierce County in preventing sudden infant death amidst pandemic needs, activated early to oversee testing at the Tacoma Dome to administering vaccines at the elder care homes. Gus serves those who need a tool of alternative transportation at 2nd Cycle Community Bicycle shop. Home workouts and offices set up in the living room and kitchen are the norm now.
Though not in the neighborhood, we still support the Guadalupe House, Tacoma Catholic Worker, we still help out with dump runs and distanced fellowship. The Hilltop Street Choir is in its 2nd year, a toddler in need of many naps but also play. As pause and reflection became mandated (some say as long as 4 years), a call to action with online programming is on its way. Gus continues to learn how to lead with others whilst learning the blindspots, biases and less enjoyable things of running a non-profit. A church musician for 20 years, he continues to play for mass, weddings and funerals at the second largest parish in Washington, St. Vincent de Paul, adapting to livestreaming and virtual choirs.
Many of our close friends postponed their own weddings, expected children and/or grieved losses. The end of the year was marked with little of the expected as we stayed home and cooked opulent meals and drank merrily. Gus hosted virtual cooking shows to not share viruses but the love of coming together at table and attempted to have normalcy amidst video calls and essential travel. And we started to make things with our hands: garden-grown and homemade hot sauce, The Mandalorian-inspired bone broth, and Jordan started making bread.
As much as everyone is to say we wish a happy, merry, and blessed holidays and new year, we want to say we are grateful and hopeful this next year brings what we need to step out of the shade and into the unity of our neighbors and strangers as well as our families and friends.
“When day comes we step out of the shade,aflame and unafraid,the new dawn blooms as we free it.For there is always light,if only we’re brave enough to see it.If only we’re brave enough to be it.”- Amanda Gorman