Into the Mystic: Give Thanks in all Circumstances
Even if you are making painful sacrifices for the health of your family during this pandemic, there is still much to be grateful for.
This is a tough year by any measure.
As of this writing, new COVID cases are upwards of 150 thousand a day and we are within hours of announcing that a quarter of a million Americans have died of the disease.
Athough a new president has been elected, to date 26 cases have been brought to courts where US judges are being asked to overturn the outcome. All of them have been dismissed – except the one that allowed the poll watchers to move from 20 feet away to six feet away. No work is yet being done to give access to the new President’s transition team and fears mount about when and if the peaceful transition of power will occur.
Many of us have not forgotten that George Floyd, Ahmed Aubery, and Breonna Taylor were brutally killed without cause or provocation; nor that justice for them still remains a distant hope in an America that refuses to abandon its racist roots.
Good people are being forced to make hard decisions and live in harsh circumstances, even if and when they are perfectly healthy. Parents have to make hard choices about whether or not it is safer to send their children to school in a raging pandemic or risk their mental health by not having them share time with their peers during their most formative years.
We are approaching a holiday season where COVID realities are likely going to cancel many of our plans. When families find so much joy, comfort, and solace in sharing these precious days with each other, the loneliness of self-imposed quarantining will keep grandchildren away from grandparents, aunts and uncles away from nephews and nieces, and old friends from seeing each other that one time of year when we all seem to find and need time with one another.
While writing this, I received a text telling me that one of our UCC pastors, who has been in ICU fighting COVID, may not survive the day.
My heart, like so many of yours, breaks. It is burdened with chaos and grief, with fear and with anxiety, with trauma and with loneliness.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
The author of those words in our sacred text didn’t share them from the lap of luxury. They were written in another time of great uncertainty from a prison cell.
Later this week, I will gather around the table of thanksgiving with my wife and an adult child who lives with us. I will not share that table with my mother. I will not share it with my other two children, their spouses, or my two grandchildren. Their absence will be felt; as will ours to them.
And yet I will give thanks, for there is yet much to be thankful for.
I pray you are all well, even as you sacrifice much for the sake of those whom you care about in and through this time. I pray that you, too, can see something for which you are able to give thanks. May it be ever so on this, our journey Into the Mystic.