Bubbulsh: A toddler’s pronunciation of Bubbles.
Bubbles: A short-lived, transient phenomenon, as seen in feature photo.
Bubbles during these times: A small group of people with whom one solely has close social or physical contact. Bubbles are now “exclusive” in the sense of once we’re in one, we can’t form new bubbles.
Before COVID, we already existed in family, school, work, worship, or recreational bubbles… of all shapes and sizes, and for various lengths of time. Some bubbles were comfortable, others not so much.
One of my first experiences of a Daily Bubble was the Kitchen Table Bubble… grumpily eating breakfast cereal with another sibling before school. The way the teaspoon would annoyingly clank against their metal dental braces… or the way they would just breathe at me across the table. Not a morning person, I unknowingly made the Kitchen Table Bubble, unpleasant for everyone… including myself.
My first recollection of a Restrictive Bubble was the Blizzard Bubble… when my kid brother and I were snow-bound at our grandma’s. It felt like a month, but was only a couple of weeks. A no-nonsense, pious woman, her unique approach in resolving cabin-fever-fueled sibling scraps was by encouraging us with contests to memorize Psalms. The mercenary winner could receive anything from a penny to a nickel, depending on the accuracy of the recitation. With delusions of wealth and riches, my brother and I ended up with a combined total 27 cents, although we can still recite by heart most of what we learned – and that’s actually priceless!
Unfortunately, in between the Psalms, we also discovered how to use a Bible Concordance, learning how to creatively admonish one another using scriptural quotes, in childlike ways… and out of context.
Him (justifying a slushball to my mouth): “Leviticus 19:17.” (“Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart.”)
Me (refusing to pass the pancake syrup): “Proverbs 25:16.” (Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”); Then, graciously passing said syrup: “Proverbs 25:21 -22.” (“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.”)
Him (besting me): “Proverbs 25: 24” (“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.”)
I could go on, but you get the picture.
During this past year, the initial new household restrictions sometimes bestowed joy and blessings. Families who could make it positive, spent extra quality time together… such as playing board games, or doing communal projects and hobbies.
Many acquired new skills! Some examples shared with me are friends and family who have taken up new crafts like knitting, painting, baking, and learning how to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow in Klingon, on a ukulele.
Sometimes when we’re stuck inside a bubble for quite awhile, it feels like we’re going to pop.
When we forget to look up, we miss the light that make our temporary bubbles beautiful and iridescent… our small spheres become distressingly dull and nitpicky. Loved ones’ Foibles may seem to have duly earned the right to be spelled with a “capital F”.
Husband: “Did you know you always sniff once upon entering any room?”
Wife: “Did you know you always take three bites at a time when eating corn on the cob?”
I could go on, but you get the picture.
A wonderful passage which can be applied to anything, particularly Concerning Bubbles, is Colossians 3:12-16.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
We may miss the opportunity of being with more family. We may miss our friends, and coming together to worship. This is good.
But, if not careful, it can become a downer if we let it. Sometimes we do. Forgiveness and love are the keys to Bubble Tranquility. Bubbles became what we make them… ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
A dear, wise, priest rightly encourages us to remember, “This is just for now.”