In this time of physical distance and sheltering in place, one of the things I miss most is sharing our lives and our stories.
Last week, when I spoke with Peter Hobson about the amazing connections and the much-needed gift of masks his daughter Deborah is sharing with the Navajo Nation, his pride was palpable. I wanted to share this joy with him. When Joyce Cummings shared one morning at prayer about transforming her garage into a space that maintains a safe distance with others in order to enjoy tea with friends and brunch with family, I wanted to join with her in celebrating the creative way she is keeping connections. When Brian Rogers planted heart-shaped flowers in one of the Church garden beds, I want to be digging in the dirt right alongside him while listening to his plans to care for those who continue to struggle with being housed.
A friend of mine, Hope, loves to spend her time traveling. She is a seriously committed traveler and has only a handful of countries to go before literally having traveled the world. Hope is also a nurse at the West Roxbury Veterans Hospital. This pandemic has hit her hard; all her plans to finish her “bucket list of travel” have been canceled. She is finding it hard (really hard to shelter in place). However, on Monday, Memorial Day, she sent me this note: Happy Memorial Day! I hope you have a chance to rest today. Having your life on hold is exhausting. I spent part of my night sitting with a 90 something WWII vet who is married to a holocaust survivor. He was confused and forgetful, but he *didn’t* have COVID because my floor was half way converted back last week. He kept saying: well, I’ll have to get used to this but at least I have Hope! This pandemic has really driven home how important every life and every story is. No matter how old or immunocompromised or immobile my patients have been, I’m grateful for my work, grateful for my patients, who are each a fascinating jewel of individual experience and history.
Friends, we all have many stories to share — extraordinary stories about where we have been, the insights we have gained, the relationships we have nurtured. And … we have regular, everyday stories about that time we were all sheltering in place and the world challenged us to live differently. We all have stories that we long to share and that others in our community want to hear. In celebration of Pentecost, when a group of people who didn’t speak the same language and didn’t have the same faith, joined together in a single dynamic experience of God’s Spirit and discovered the essence of the church, which is unity not uniformity, diversity not division, let’s reach out to one another and share our stories, share our lives and remember that our God who loves us without condition and without end binds us together in a story bigger and better than anything we could imagine. Definitely something to share!
“See” you at church on the screen!