Grace and Gratitude

 

"Wearing a mask to protect others is an intentional act of kindness" - Dr. Jeffrey Peller [1830 x 1080]

 

It feels like it’s day 1,275 of the pandemic.

So much of what brings us joy, and so much of what we seek to share when times are difficult are unavailable to us. Worship, meetings, family reunions, graduations, all virtual, are causing our eyes to cross and feel veiled in sadness.

The challenge of being out in the world with a mask.  The challenge of being home alone or isolated in a nursing home. The concern about a virus that strikes without warning and can be present and contagious without symptoms.  The cries of people whose suffering has long been ignored. A deeply divided nation.

To open or close?  To stay closed or open in stages?  These are only two of the questions.

It’s been a hard and stressful road for so many.

I keep wondering how we can continue.

I believe that my coping method of choice is my faith.  When I focus on what I’m missing, how inconvenienced I am, how much I need to be in worship with other people, how much I long to see my kids and my grandchild, I am living from a place of scarcity.  When I consider my generous employer, who has been able to keep me employed with benefits in a pandemic, or others who work so hard and take such risks so that I can be safe and nourished and entertained and spiritually fed, something shifts.

When I consider what this time of quarantine has allowed me to do (more writing, more reflection, more planning, more growing Brussels sprouts, to name but a few things), I am more mindful.

When I think of my health and that of my loved ones, the health challenges so many have endured, the deep, deep injustice of any mother’s child being brutalized for walking home from work or murdered for jogging, I want to erase any whining about my own needs. I want to confess having become desensitized to the pain of others because of my petty inconvenience.

I want to focus fully on using my place of privilege to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with my God. I want to channel all that energy of lament into a song of hope and a marathon of action that builds vital communities of faith, dismantles structural racism, and eradicates poverty.  I want to wear a mask as a sign of my love of neighbor.  I want to use my voice to amplify voices long silenced.

It’s all about the grace to put the needs of others ahead of our own.

It’s all about the gratitude of loving others with the same extravagance that God loves us.

Grace and gratitude, because of the One who walks with us all, always.