• Bill McLean

Dinner and Games

There have been a lot of things that have changed during the pandemic

and at the same time many things have been on an endless repeat cycle.

If we are not careful, and do not check the calendar regularly, the

days begin to blur together, and you lose track of time. Similarly, it

is easy to become isolated from family, friends, and neighbors as we

all find ourselves inside and physically distancing from each other.

Fortunately, in our small four-person family one thing that has not

changed is that our family eats dinner together most nights. Actually

that isn’t exactly true, even this has changed because there have not

been meetings, rehearsals, or practices to draw one or another of us

out of the house during the evening.

So with only a few exceptions we have gathered around the table each

evening. With a twelve year-old and sixteen year-old it is great to

have some time to connect, talk, and laugh together. There is still

grumbling about dinner, homework, chores, and other normal things but

it is a wonderful time being together that would have been interrupted

except for the pandemic.

Then because we cannot go anywhere, we have been play games or binge

watching cartoons as a family most evenings after dinner. We have

played card games, board games, trivia games, and video games.

Almost all the games have been discovered during the pandemic. Some of

them I have been good at and others I have provided comic relief for

the family (thank you video game rap battles).

Certain games we return to time after time and others are only played

a couple of times and set aside. We have learned which games we are

good at and which ones might be fun but will end with at least one

person shouting or crying every time we play. Which ones should only

be played during the afternoon and which can be played anytime.

The experimenting and exploring is part of the fun. Who knew a card

game called “Taco, Cat (Goat, Cheese, Pizza)” would be a hit with

everyone? While an award winning board game is played sparingly

because of the frustration and arguing that seems to come with it each

time we play.

More than anything the time together is important because even in a

house full of people it is possible to feel lonely and isolated. After

months of being limited in where we can go and what we can do it is

critical to find things that make us happy and recharge our batteries.

Sometimes it is dinner together or a silly game while other times it

is a good book or a run / walk outside and other times it is talking

with friends on Zoom or connecting with family over FaceTime since we

are hundreds of miles apart. It is breaking the isolation. It is

fueling and finding joy even amid a pandemic. As I have been reminded

over the years, Jesus made time to pray, rest, and eat so I have no

excuse for not doing the same. And who knows maybe they even played a

game or two after dinner.

How are you coping with isolation? How are you refueling? What is

bringing you joy?

Grace and peace,


Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II

Presbyter for Congregational Care

Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois

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