instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Not Enough

Eleven weeks ago I thought it was enough to survive the COVID-19 lockdown with my health and sanity intact. I set a goal of hiking every day. I worked to keep my spirits up. I contacted friends and family to make sure they were okay. I finished a book proposal and tackled long-delayed household projects. I stayed at home and wore a mask and tried not to pick fights with my husband with whom I was sequestered 24/7.

 

Then George Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes, even though Floyd kept saying, "I can't breathe." In the aftermath, during protests and commentaries, people of color shared story after story of how they lived in fear of police brutality every day.

 

I thought about black colleagues and mentors who told me they were afraid for their sons. I thought about our daughter's friends at Southfield High School, amazing scholars and athletes and human beings. I thought about how I've had to struggle against the inclination to ignore the experience of people of color as long as I and my family are safe. In the 1890's sociologist W.E.B. Dubois noticed our nation's "peculiar indifference" to the suffering, poverty and poor health of black people. I've noticed that indifference in myself, and had to repent of it over and over again.

 

So, it's not enough just to survive the pandemic. Although given the relentless downward spiral of bad news, it remains crucial to cultivate love and joy and hope and gratitude. More than surviving, though, I need to do what is in my power to make a difference: to pray, march, write, teach an anti-racism class at my church. I need to help create a nation in which all people are valued. As we emerge from our houses, blinking in the sunlight, that's the only kind of "new normal" worth coming out to claim.

Be the first to comment

Easter 2020

One of the projects I've been working on while we're isolated at home is to go through old files and photos. I found a letter I wrote 11 years ago to the congregation at South Lyon First United Methodist Church. Some of you may remember that time, the recession of 2009. People were losing their jobs. They worried about paying their bills and wondered what the future would hold. We need some good news, I said in the letter.

 

This pandemic is even worse. We cover our faces with masks. We're afraid to go outside. Health care workers, food providers, and first responders risk death just to do their jobs.

 

But what I said in April 2009 is still true:
Easter morning tells us that there is good news:  Love wins. The world did its worst on Jesus. He was arrested, mocked, scourged and crucified. His terrified disciples went into hiding. But God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus appeared to his disciples, alive! He spoke to them, touched them, ate with them. His presence restored their faith that God was with them. The disciples had thought that evil had won, but they were wrong. Goodness is stronger than evil and God's love is stronger than death.

 

In these days when it takes all our energy not to give in to fear, if we look, we can see signs that love still wins. I heard this morning that more than 900 masks had been sewn for health care workers by the Chelsea-based group, Material Girls. Church members are stocking food pantry shelves and delivering Meals on Wheels. On balconies and porches around the world, people are singing and shouting in gratitude for the courage of health care workers and others who serve us.

 

This is the message of Easter: no matter how hard it gets, in the end, love wins. "I will not leave you orphaned," Jesus told his disciples. "I will come again, and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also." We are not alone in our struggles. God holds our future in loving hands.

 

So, I send you my warmest wishes for a joyous Easter in the midst of the pandemic. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed.

1 Comments
Post a comment