Wow, it’s been far too long since I last wrote. I’m sorry to have been so absent. How’s everyone? Hanging in there in troubled times?
Truth be told, I’ve been in a sort of self-imposed social distancing over the last year though it has nothing to do with Covid-19. I’ve always been ahead of the curve. Trendsetter. That’s me.
In all seriousness, though, I wanted to write today to check-in, now, in the time of the Coronavirus. What an odd time it is, huh? We get new information daily on how things are progressing, what we should do, what we shouldn’t do. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen on social media of empty grocery store shelves, people wearing masks, sharing articles and poetry and scripture. There’s some holiness in the call to isolation, stirred in here and there.
Often, that’s where I find comfort during this Lenten season, this season that already has a degree of isolation stirred into the call to holiness. What we’re asked during Lent is to become mindful, thoughtful, prayerful. I don’t usually panic until around Holy Week when I realize how short I’ve fallen. And even then, the panic is more regret than desperation. I’m working on the regret part. I’ve never found it to be particularly edifying in the moment.
You know, regret, though, does serve a function for us, maybe not in the moment, but later, upon further consideration. Each Lent dredges up that previous year’s regret, the “I wish I had” list. And honestly, that IS edifying, if I keep from falling into the rabbit hole of remembering how poorly I do this faith thing so I can beat myself up, and instead opt toward the grace of God and the opportunity to attempt to do it better.
And that brings me back to Covid-19, my dear, wonderful people.
Yes, there are mixed messages. Yes, there is panic, desperation, fear. My question for us all is how do we keep that from becoming regret? Does an overabundance of caution to “flatten the curve” really mean panic or fear? I say no. I say that being overly cautious in this time is an act of love and care for people we may not even realize are at risk.
My head cold may just be a head cold but I’m still going to stay home this week from Liturgy because if it isn’t, it may hurt someone and neither of us would know it, would we? I don’t want to ever regret showing up to Liturgy. I always want that to be the safest place in my whole world. I aim to keep it that way so I’ll scrutinize my health every week. And I’ll not complain about my kids being home from school for two weeks or more while I’m trying to work at home to keep us afloat. And I’d say to anyone at all, that social distancing will not hurt our Lent or our community or our family of faith or our connection to Christ.
But rather, I’ll suggest that we assure that kindness, mercy, and love abound in our hearts and our hands and our thoughts and words and deeds. Sometimes, that means we worship together from our homes, or skip Sunday School or coffee hour. It’s temporary, my lovely ones. Let’s not contribute to spreading a virus that might cause permanent changes for other humans. Let’s iron out this curve with intention and honesty and love.