Updated: Sep 10, 2020
by Amanda Watson
I have had an interesting conversation with my 16 year old grandson.
I texted him to ask how he felt about these times that appear to always be in flux-- the changing of how we learn and of how we are in community.
This was his answer: ”I think it’s been good being able to spend more time having to learn to get along with one another. It has also forced people to consider how their actions might influence others to a greater degree which is probably a good thing.”
I was fascinated that he saw this time as a gift not as a disruption or inconvenience, but as a gift. He saw this time of uncertainty as a gift to learn and as a gift of force.
He saw this time as a time to learn to get along with one another. He saw this as a time to see people as valuable, as children of God, as people to love. He saw this as time to ask people not the perfunctory “How are you?” but as a time to stop, wait and genuinely listen to the answer. He saw this as a time to see people in their suffering and in their joys. He saw this as a time (as Bishop Mayer often says) to rejoice with great pride in being a child of God, yet with great humility because everyone else is too. He saw this as a time not to dwell in our differences but to discover our likenesses. He saw this time not to dismiss the pain and loss due to the coronavirus, or to racial unrest, or to fear, mistrust and hate of others but as a time to spend time to actually experience and notice each other, get to know and be present with each other. Amazing lesson taught.
And he saw this time as a time to consider how our actions influence others. What we do matters. First we are to get along with each other, and then we are to act on that new knowledge and understanding. To welcome all into our communities, to serve rather than be served and to act in recognition of the value of others. In this time we are to reach out to the poor, needy and lost. In this time, we are to recognize the force of reaching out in new and creative ways, but it is mandatory that we act. That we boldly share the word of God just as Peter and John spoke boldly before the Sanhedran. Reach out, respond and respect.
In this time we are not to sit idly in despair but act in love. I think that Henri Nouwen would agree with my grandson. He wrote: “I feel that we should continually avoid the temptation of despair and deepen our awareness that God is present in the midst of all the chaos that surrounds and that that presence allows us to live joyfully and peacefully in a world so filled with sorrow and conflict.”
Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)