I hope you all had a good Easter weekend, despite everything! I experienced a pretty rare emotion on Easter afternoon, something I haven't fully felt for a long while--a kind of calm happiness. No, it won't last forever, or even fully across this wind-swept Monday--but it was real, and it felt like, well, normalcy. What a concept!
Our previous President spoke to the nation's mayors last week and talked of what leaders need to do--mainly, to speak the truth, as they understand it. As Winston Churchill displayed during the worst of the Blitz in WWII, people respond well to the unvarnished truth, and are fortified by it, even if it isn't what they want to hear.
Gas lighting works well for one news cycle (or one week's sermon), but it doesn't wear well across the months.
So here's what I think we face: yet more isolation (no!); a really slow restart and recovery, maybe extending for two years (really? Not great...); and continued bouts of social isolation and further illnesses--which means this will not be over mid-May but will bumpily extend into the fall--and then perhaps another wave next winter. We face a long marathon--and as individuals, and as a gathering faith community, these likely realities will be daunting.
Here's the other side of my sense of coming reality--there will be a vaccine, likely earlier than expected (researchers in Oxford think they have an 80% chance of one by September, but there's still the long roll-out. But that's insanely good news as an indicator of what might break our way.). We will get better at treating our loved ones, and save more than we are now--as in HIV research, drug "cocktails" in combination will likely ease the terrors of this virus. We will likely save our democracy in the next seven months--but only if we pay attention to the folks wanting to discourage and disenfranchise us...
In short, we have more hell to go through, more than we think we can bear (but we must); and we will make it through together. We absolutely will. But we will be changed, no doubt about that.
I am looking forward to Daniel's sermon this Sunday, and we have been talking for several months about how important the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day really is...which we will both celebrate and extend as a Promise we must meet.
Here's a brief excerpt from Dawna Markova's prayer I offered in last Friday night's Virtual Vespers:
I choose to risk my significance
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
goes on as fruit.