I share a meditation below for this week, along with this question:
What steps are guiding you through your days? What thoughts, values, rituals, traditions, or practices are keeping you company as we walk though this time of deep unknowns, on which none of us has walked before? Being conscious and articulate about what is keeping you steady, may give you even more clarity, courage and patience. – Rev. Laurie
My grandmother once gave me a tip: In difficult times, you move forward in small steps. Do what you have to do, but little by little. Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow. Wash the dishes. Remove the dust. Write a letter. Make a soup. You see? You are advancing step by step. Take a step and stop. Rest a little. Praise yourself. Take another step. Then another. You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more. And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying. ~ Elena Mikhalkova, The Room of Ancient Keys
Note: Rev. Margaret Weis invites you to replace “church” with “congregation” or “Fellowship” if that feels most appropriate for your community.
The church is not a place; it is a people.
The church is not only a steeple above the treeline, streets, and cars.
Rather, it is a people proclaiming to the world that
we are here for the work of healing and of justice.
The church is not walls built stone upon stone, held together by mortar
but rather person, linked with person, linked with person:
all ages and genders and abilities—
a community built on the foundation of reason, faith, and love.
The church is not just a set of doors open on Sunday morning,
but the commitment day after day, and moment after moment,
of our hearts creaking open the doors of welcome to the possibility of new experience and radical welcome.
The church is not simply a building, a steeple, a pew.
The church is the gathering together of all the people, and experiences,
and fear, and love, and hope in our resilient hearts;
gathering, however we can, to say to the world:
welcome, come in, lay down your heartache, and pick up hope and love.
For the church is us—each and every one of us—together,
a beacon of hope to this world that so sorely needs it.
I pray to the birds.
I pray to the birds because
I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward.
I pray to them because I believe in their existence,
the way their songs begin and end each day,
the invocations and benedictions of earth.
I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love
rather than what I fear.
And at the end of my prayers,
they teach me how to listen.
“Look for the helpers,” my hero would remind us. When bad things happen there are always heroes who help. Mr. Roger’s advice was supposedly for the children, but don’t we all need to be reminded: When bad things happen there are always heroes who help.
This time is no different. So I look for the heroes and I see them. Everywhere.
I see you patiently restocking the shelves at the store, keeping us nourished and reassured that there is enough to go around.
I see you going to work at the hospital, risking your own health so you can make others well.
I see you delivering food, packages and mail through deserted streets, keeping our economy moving.
I see you in the lab, measuring carefully, hoping your efforts will lead to a vaccine to inoculate the whole world.
I see you making art and sending it into the world via a screen, reminding us that truth and beauty alway matter.
I see you with four grocery lists in your hand, making certain your neighbors have what they need too.
I see you coding at your keyboard, keeping isolated people connected.
I see you alone in a hospital room, caring for your newborn baby all by yourself even after a cesarian because no visitors are allowed in the postpartum rooms.
I see you going to work while the rest of your family stays home because you are essential.
I see you making certain that your students have internet connection so they can learn how to subtract five from thirteen.
I see you putting the facts together so we understand why this time is different.
I see you pouring your blood into a clear plastic bag, to be sent far away and put into the body of a stranger.
I see you—in the mirror. The most strange hero of all. You stayed home today, put your life on hold, joined in this utterly unique agreement to save lives by doing less, by holding still, by sheltering in place.
There is no way we can possibly deny it—we are part of an interconnected web of life.
Is it possible that I saved someone’s life today simply by sitting on the couch? By washing my hands? By waving at my neighbor from a distance?
How are you feeling? I’m asked again and again.
I need a new word.
How am I feeling?
Acutely grateful for the blessings in my life; Scared and sad for the people who are losing so much; Filled with awe at the sacrifices we are collectively making to care for the common good. Grateful, afraid, heartbroken and awestruck.
Is there one word for so many feelings all at once? In German? In any human language? Maybe only in language of the human heart.