Today is the 16th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Sixteen years ago I never could have imagined today. I was supposed to be on sabbatical with my husband, we were supposed to be in Bath, England, enjoying a soak at the new spa there. That seems a long ago dream now. I can’t even imagine wanting to do that today. We were in Iceland when the WHO declared Coronavirus/Covid-19 a global pandemic and Trump issued his first travel ban. We were able to get on the last flight to Denver from Iceland. The last 10 days have been a mixture of grief and joy. We have spent the week cancelling the plans we took the last year to prepare. We also spent the week talking to our friends and family online a lot. We have walked around our neighborhood and met more neighbors this last week than we have in the 3 years we have lived in the neighborhood.
We had a grant that funded our travels and the foundation is encouraging us to try again for our sabbatical when things have been figured out. In the meantime we, like the rest of the world, are figuring out what daily life looks like. For a few more days we are still under quarantine from our travel time and when the quarantine is over, we will continue to stay at home with the rest of Colorado. The small difference is we will be able to venture out for our own groceries. We have been overwhelmed by the offers of help and support that we have received, and the sympathy people have for our grief, in the face of so much change and grief for so many people. We have laughed with family and friends in our video chats, and have talked with neighbors and strangers on the street.
Today, we are finally unpacked from the trip that we planned for a year to take. Our home offices are reassembled. We are leaning into this new way of life. We are learning how to “love-stream” church and friendship along with the rest of the world.
There are so many people responding with daily online prayer, beautifully crafted church from empty sanctuaries or cozy firesides. For every streamed service, I have asked myself, “am I doing enough?” or told myself “ I need to do that too”. I have struggled with the illusion that I have to be the “best-priest-for-these-times”. While texting with a friend over the weekend a lightbulb went off; all I am required to do, all any of us are required to do is: “Love the people I have been given to love the best way I know how.” That’s it. Love. Love each other. We all do that differently, and we all know how to love. When we let the fear and anxiety subside for a moment, love will shimmer through. Signs of love are everywhere we just need to look for them.
Love the people you are given to love in the best way you know how.