Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Fr. Neale, Senior Warden Tatiana Schweibenz, Brian O’Malley, Nick Voermans, Cassandra Dias and I met both in the Hawes Room and on Zoom. It was our last face to face meeting in each other’s physical presence for an unknown and unknowable period of time. We were seeking to plan a way through this crisis and the dilemma it presents to all of us. We have no road maps, and the only real guidance we have is to STAY SAFE, which is generally translated as “stay home alone.” I have a wonderful beast I can touch and tease and play with and he does the same with me. For those of you with a partner or companion of a few or many years this is a time to recall how you fell in love or became friends or companions. It is a time to remember what loving and being loved did for you in the early years. Is it still a spark or sparkle, or only a glowing ember? Perhaps now is the opportunity to add more fuel—the extra time we have for relationship building—and then we can let the Holy Spirit blow on those embers to kindle a brighter light and a warming fire. Having so much time gives opportunity for renewal and renewal is always about rebirth, being born again, with new hope and a new perspective on life. And, of course, rebirth is always about resurrection.
This week my granddaughters called, not because they needed to share a burden as they sometimes do, and not because they needed money (as they sometimes do), but simply to know that I am all right. I did not think of calling these 30-ish adults to disturb them with any dimensions of my life, like fear or loneliness or any other darker thoughts, so I was surprised and deeply moved that they want to know how I am doing. I take that as an invitation to talk more, to hear their lovely voices and their ringing laughter, to listen to their fears and to celebrate how they are taking care of themselves.
Many of you live in families, even three-generational ones, and this kind of quarantine in place can be very stressful in several ways. I notice it in EZ, my big standard poodle, who is not taking this well. He sings the blues to me every mid-morning, beyond the time we would have gone to the office. I hear this as: “I have become a working dog at Trinity, I am on the staff there, too, and people need me to greet them.” The bottom line is “I am bored.”
Have you felt the boredom? Have you felt it in your family? I cannot imagine anyone between six and eighteen who is not bored already—bored to the point of annoying those of us who are pretending we are not bored.
This is a time to get real. Can you admit your own boredom? And instead of sending those “beloved monsters” (or whatever you call them on a good day) off to their laptops for yet another game, or the TV for yet another escapist program (all good in their time), what about pulling out a deck of cards or some boxed game on your shelf and saying, “Let’s play this together.” Or invite them into a craft or art form you love and they may have the talent for? I promise you, the conversations during those times will surprise you, and bring you closer together. Since intimacy is being forced upon us, let us rejoice and be creative with it! Wouldn’t it be wonderful not only to survive this virus, but to come out of it feeling more alive, more loving and more loved!
I want to say that Alan+ and I are most concerned about those of you who live alone, with no people and no pets in your daily lives, with no one who pushes you to react, or shows you in some particular and endearing way that you are loved. Most of us will share your experience of being alone at some time in our lives, so I really want to invite you to call on us and Pam Alexander and Trinity Loving Community, to respond to you, especially if you are lonely or afraid. And just because we cannot get together does not mean we cannot be together.
I would like to close with Canticle 9 from the Book of Common Prayer (p.86; Isaiah 12:2-6)
“Surely, it is God who saves me; * I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, * and he will be my Savior.
Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing * from the springs of salvation.
And on that day you shall say, * Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
Make his deeds known among the peoples; * see that they remember that his Name is exalted.
Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, * and this is known in all the world.
Cry aloud inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, * for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.”