I’m feeling the weight of disappointment and hurt and suffering these days, and due to some of the conversations I’ve had lately, I imagine many of you are as well.
From receiving bad news about our health, to worrying about the health and safety of people we know and love – and people we don’t even know living in other states and other countries, and grieving for those who have died (may light perpetual shine upon them) and grieving the changes and disruptions in our lives – our world feels particularly tough right now. It almost surprises me to be writing that today. I remember saying that a lot a year and a half ago. I think I expected things to be different by now, to be better by now. And, we are still living through a pandemic, there are storms, floods, fires, and all of the ups and downs of our day to day lives. It’s a lot. And it’s compounded. We are no longer living in small villages. We are global. News emerges instantaneously. It’s quite remarkable, really, to be able to be connected through a screen or a phone call to people we love when they’re far away. And, these global connections also mean we bear the burdens not only of those we love, but of people we don’t even know, and our hearts are stretched as we are reminded that every human being is created in God’s image – those we know and get along with, and those with whom we disagree.
Amidst the weight of these past few weeks I’ve been particularly grateful for the communities I choose to call home. I’m grateful for my family, and for the ways in which the pandemic has simplified our sometimes hectic lives. I’m grateful for the back to school season and for the teachers and educators who are going the extra mile this year to keep our kids as safe as possible while living into their vocation. I’m grateful for the smiles my children wear when they return from school and the excitement and energy they have in sharing the highlights of their day. (My kids are still young enough to look forward to being in school.) I’m grateful for the people of St. John’s, for church, because these days especially, I know I need people who want to help shoulder the load. I’m grateful to know that I belong to a community where together, we create strength and offer support, where we can lean into each other, and enter the flow of giving and receiving. I’m grateful for the ways the Holy Spirit helps this happen. I’m grateful for the new ways God was revealed to us 2,000 years ago in the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I’m grateful for the ways Jesus inspires us to be of service. And I’m grateful for prayer – sometimes with words, sometimes with tears, sometimes with laughter, sometimes with movement or music or art, sometimes alone, and sometimes together.