I am stretched in this season of social distancing, of being careful for the safety of ourselves and others, and I am especially praying for an end of this coronavirus pandemic.
All of us have been affected. Now more than ever we need to recognize that we are one human family on this fragile earth.
I pray in ministry moments and in our online worship services and prayer times. So how are you doing?
We all wonder what the future will look like.
We have had to adjust to the loss of life events. There will be no real time, physical time high school senior proms or graduations of any level of school, from pre-school through college and beyond.
Weddings have been postponed. Funerals have been delayed. Milestones and birthdays are celebrated from a distance. Car caravans drive by homes of loved ones with balloons and signs, waving and shouting their love.
Visits are best outside or in the back yard with the proper social distancing, of course.
My neighbors have a huge banner stretched across the top of their garage: “I can’t wait to hug you someday," it declares: #togetherwhileapart.
I have seen cars and trucks stop to take photos of the banner. How are you handling your losses?
Sometimes the way out is to let it out.
Talk about how you are feeling with someone you can trust. But also know that you might need to take turns because they are probably feeling the same way. If they are a good friend they might make you enter your loss or disillusionment and really get it out.
When it is outside of your heart, you can look at something with its various angles.
Jesus did talk things out more than once with his disciples. In fact, there were two disciples talking of their sadness after the death of Jesus. They were walking away from Jerusalem when Jesus walked up to them and asked them to tell him what they were talking about. They poured out their hearts and so did Jesus. He listened and loved them into the truth of who he was and is. He challenged them to become more than they thought they were or could be.
Jesus was going to walk on but the disciples strongly urged him to stay with them, have dinner with them and they probably added, “Keep talking Jesus, don’t stop!”
Christians believe Jesus is always with us, walking with us and using us to serve with love and power. After the resurrection, Jesus commissioned his disciples to go out to the world and share the Good News. But we can’t really do that right now, can we? But hidden or seen the power of God can bless and transform the smallest task, the smallest service for someone.
The life of Helen Keller can be an inspiration for us now. As a baby Helen Keller suffered an illness that left her deaf and blind. Unable to communicate, she grew up filled with rage and frustration. But her parents sought help, and the help that they found came from a young woman – Anne Sullivan.
Anne worked with Helen and helped her to learn a new language through touch. Their breakthrough story is famous.
Anne poured water over Helen’s hands and touched Helen’s hands in a pattern that was supposed to mean “water.” All of a sudden, Helen “got it.” She realized for the first time that it would be possible to communicate!
Helen went on to become a world-famous speaker and writer. She lived a long life and inspired several generations with her accomplishments. This is what Helen said about her accomplishments: “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
Hidden or seen, the power and love of God can bless and transform the smallest task and service for someone else.
That is what we can do during this time when we have restrictions on going out. We can do whatever we can with love and it will make a difference.
See the invisible in the visible. The grace of God is present.
Open your eyes and look for the big picture in all of life especially in your losses and disappointments. And as the banner hung above my neighbors garage reads: #togetherwhileapart. We miss each other. Stay heart connected.
Rev. Paul Vukmanic is rector at St. Francis Episcopal Church, in Palos Verdes Esates