“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”
~ Isaiah 49:16
We are at the beginning of another month where we find that many people are separating and isolating themselves more during a pandemic that, for many, doesn't seem to have a end in sight. Unlike the days when my children would ask, "Are we there yet?" on road trips, we don't really know where we are destined, or what life will be like.
For many, it is causing anxiety, and for even more, there is a sense of grief that is becoming all too familiar.
It is a paralyzing sense of separation that seems to be at the heart of human suffering. We can take a lot of physical and even mental pain when we know that it truly makes us part of the life we live together in this world. However, when we feel cut off from one another, we quickly lose heart.
It's an interesting thing about pain and suffering and how it seems to connect us. We all are beginning to understand our common human struggle. The question is, are we up for the daunting task before us?
None of us are passive bystanders. For a virus that doesn't care who it infects, our pains are no longer just our own.
This morning as my calendar reminded me of a concert I was to attend this evening, and then noting that it was cancelled a month ago, I find that I am beginning to struggle to remember what, "life was like."
At this point, all I seem to remember of the recent past was that we all seemed to be very busy, that everything seemed to be very urgent, and that we could hardly get it all done. What we were doing we have forgotten. In many ways, this demonstrates just how isolated we have become. The past no longer carries us to the future; it simply leaves us worried, without any promise that things will be any different any time soon.
I am reminded that we must be careful not to compromise ourselves and grab for anything that seems to offer satisfaction. I have spoken with friends who have "relapsed," into something that they "once struggled with," in hopes to find release for the tension that they are experiencing or to find some kind of temporary feeling of what "once was."
As I shared with someone recently, "Not knowing what tomorrow will bring is nothing new. It's just that we seem to be feeling more alone right now about what life will bring, and that's where we struggle. We are all grieving together."
More than ever we have the need for one another. For things like hope, assurance, and peace of mind. All of these things continue to be present. We just have to be more intentional about where we look for them.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.