A hundred and three days.
That’s a long time, my friends.
When I left the Museum to go help my family for a week back in March, I was sad to be leaving for a whole eight days. If you would have told me that it would nearly fifteen weeks before I returned to my favorite place in the world, I’m really not sure how I would have reacted.
Like the rest of the world plans that I’d held so tightly and seemed of supreme importance crumbled before me. Ideals I’d worked towards, goals I’d hunted, and dreams I’d chased all dissipated in the wake of the pandemic.
The last 103 days were good, hard, amazing, tearful, delightful, and oh so confusing at times. During these months I experienced some of my best days and some of the worst – at least in recent years. I grew a lot. I found out I needed to grow a lot more.
And finally, at long last, I’m back.
Back in March, no one was really sure what was going to happen. The future stretched before us in a foggy mist, scary and vague. And there are still things that way in my life, and I’m sure that other people continue to have that as their daily reality.
At times I wondered if the Museum would re-open. And if it did, would I get re-hired? And if both those things happened, would everything else be different.
And yes, things are different. But it’s okay, because now everyone is aware of how different it could be. Of how much we do have to be thankful for. There’s a lot of stuff that’s difficult to do at the museum nowadays. So many added steps to run things in a way that hit those just-post-COVID-pandemic-world-guidelines perfectly.
And yet, we’re here, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
I’ve tried for the last ten minutes to put into words how it feels to be back. To be home. To get to spend each day at the Museum, serving the guests and co-workers. I’ve tried to express the emotion that comes along with having a whole host of people excitedly welcome me back and make sure I knew I was missed. I’ve typed and re-typed what it was like to get to see everyone in person again and jump right into the activities that I am comfortable with, plus learn a whole new protocol which I’m not quite getting the hang of yet…
But I can’t. The words escape me.
I’m still processing. Processing the joy of being back. The thankfulness that the museum is still here. The delight of the work I get to do each day. How right it feels to dive back into my responsibilities. The excitement of getting to see my co-workers each day. The sadness of missing co-workers who won’t be returning.
Each night I return home with my heart full of thankfulness, my legs tired from miles of walking, and my face relieved to be maskless.
I love my job. My co-workers. My teammates. It’s delightful to get to interact with guests. To get to make life a little easier for my bosses. To learn new things and grow. (Like yesterday when I made an announcement over the Museum loudspeakers for the first time.)
There’s a lot of new stuff to learn, but that’s okay because grace is freely given around the museum. So is love and care and laughter.
The Museum is my favorite place, and I’m so thankful to be back.