Coronavirus Columns: An Easter In quarantine

With churches closed, my family scattered around the country, and a pandemic changing the entire world, Easter was a bit different this year.


Illustration by Michelle Rodriguez.

Colby Guy, Staff Writer

On a usual Easter, I would wake up early and head to the local church, usually a Greek Orthodox church I grew up attending on Long Island, NY, if we decided to go back home that year. But not this wasn’t a usual Easter. 


This year’s Easter was spent at my parents’ tiny townhome in Jupiter, FL. 


Normal Easters started around 6 a.m. I woke up at 1:30 p.m. and realized I had missed most of the live streamed church services — but thankfully Spanish River Church saved the sermon on their website, so I was able to watch it a few hours late.


My attire this year was also different. No need for the dress shirt and tie this year, my New York Islanders t-shirt and pajama shorts would do. 


My parents followed suit on the decision, as we gathered around the computer to watch the stream. My sister didn’t join us, she gave up on the faith a few years ago.


We sat and listened to the pastor speak about the resurrection of Jesus, the basis of what Easter was about, and it gave me hope in a time that seemed hopeless. The pastor, standing on the stage, but talking to a slew of empty seats, still dressed in a button-down shirt and dress pants as if those seats were filled, spoke about what Jesus gave us through his actions on the cross, which made the quarantining we’ve been doing feel like nothing.


Not being at church has been one of the oddities of this new normal. No longer will I be treated to the greetings of the congregation or the taste of communion wine after service, but instead I’m left in bed wondering when this will be over.


My relationship with Jesus has been keeping me afloat a bit, but I can’t help but worry for everyone who puts their lives at risk for the safety of those affected by the coronavirus on a daily basis while I sit here at home. I said a prayer for them as service wrapped up.


Usually, when we finished our Easter service, we would head to my aunt’s house for lunch and to share the day with all of my family members on Long Island. Since we made the move to Florida, normally we’d go have lunch together and watch some playoff hockey or Mets baseball. On Easter, no sports were on.


The annual Easter egg hunt was also canceled this year. All of the kids in the family would usually partake in it, but this year it was just me and my sister in a tiny townhome, so we scrapped that idea. We’re a bit too old for that one anyways at this point.


Instead, since it was 3:30 p.m.  by the time we got done watching the sermon and it was almost dinner time, everyone went their separate ways and I went back to my room to do some homework and listen to gospel music to continue the Easter mood from the sermon.


By the time I was done with my homework, it was dinner time. Usually, for Easter dinner, we would be at my aunt’s house in New York with a large contingent of my extended family. We’d be having ham and mashed potatoes, but instead, my mom made baked ziti, which I ate in my room by myself. The dinner table was cluttered with boxes, as it had been untouched since myself and my sister had gone to college. We’re also getting ready to move out when this pandemic is over, and our living room screams that, so it is best that I stay upstairs.


Instead, I hopped on PlayStation with my 11-year-old cousin and played Rocket League with him while I ate. Not the way I was expecting to have family time on Easter this year, but it was family time nevertheless.


Usually, Easter would be a time of hanging around with family from all walks of life, times spent laughing and talking about all kinds of things, but I found myself alone today.


My parents had been working during the week so I’ve tried my best to keep my distance from them, even while they’re in the same household. I worry about the things they touch and the people they interact with during the day, so my dinner is best spent in front of my TV.


We talked for a while about how life had been during quarantine, but eventually, he asked me a question about Easter that truly stuck out to me.


“Are you sad that Jesus died?” my 11-year-old cousin asks me, as I call him during Easter dinner, where I would usually be sitting across the table from him. “No,” I reply, “Jesus is not dead. He has risen.”


My cousin, like a lot of other kids growing up, including myself, never really understood the true meaning behind Easter. I told him all the little details. About Jesus dying in the forgiveness of our sins, a detail even he couldn’t wrap his head around, about the resurrection of Jesus, and what it means for us now: a shot at going to heaven.


It felt truly inspiring for me to be able to explain why we celebrate Easter because it’s not about the eggs or the Easter bunny or even the family dinners. It’s about what Jesus had done on the cross and his resurrection.


Colby Guy is a staff writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.