Chaplain's Corner: What have we learned?

1. We are more connected than we realized.  
Towards the end of January or perhaps early February I offered a prayer in chapel to lift up those in China who were affected by the coronavirus.  It was distressing to know how much suffering there was in that part of the world, but I honestly did not believe that it would pose a major threat to our community.  In early March, I recall speaking with the seniors in my Moral Philosophy class about whether their Spring Break travels would be canceled.  They all agreed that it would be over-reactive to change plans.  And then only a couple of weeks later, we began to see the truth of the widespread devastation to our health and to our economy.  Everything changed.   We now see how truly connected we are.  Our ability to travel the globe and interact with people and creatures worldwide affects everyone.  Each decision that we make, whether to go out, see one friend, make an extra stop at the store, could affect many people.  Through this pandemic, we have realized that we really are interconnected.  My hope is that when we begin to move back out into the world and adjust to life after the coronavirus (whenever that may be), we will continue to understand our interconnectedness and be more careful and mindful about how our decisions affect so many people beyond ourselves.  This deeper awareness has the potential to heal some very broken parts of our world.  I pray that when we are faced with major decisions, we will consider the effects not only on ourselves, but also on the global community.

2.  A slower, simpler life is a healthier way of being. 
Since I began serving at St. Catherine’s, I have heard from many of you how fast-paced and full our schedules are.  People expressed their exhaustion with the pace of life in and beyond the school.  While we love our community deeply, it is true that we can get swept into a way of life in which we are not giving ourselves time to rest and reflect.  For several months this year, my daughter and I left the house at 7am and returned at nearly 7pm.  She joked in the winter that she had forgotten how the house looked in the daylight.  One silver lining of this pandemic is that we have been invited to slow down and be still.  We are able to cook meals together as a family, enjoy the beauty of the neighborhood, and take time to reflect upon the years past because we are not constantly moving on to the next thing.  My hope is that when we return to campus, we can bring this new way of being with us.  I pray that we can slow down, do a little less, reflect a little more, and be mindful about making time for family in the midst of our busy schedules. 

3.  The people who hold everything together are often overlooked in our society, and that must change.  
While many of us have the ability to work from home, many more of us do not have such a choice.  Those who work in hospitals, emergency response organizations, grocery stores, food supply companies, restaurants, delivery operations, and many more have continued to serve and keep our community fed, safe, and well.  In the midst of this pandemic we are able to see, each and every day, how important everyone in our world is.  We need each other.  My hope is that we continue to love and support the essential workers the way that we have done so during the pandemic.  I pray that we continue to see the face of God in everyone that we encounter and that we continue to share our gratitude for those who hold everything together.

Let us pray.
Help us, O God, to remember, through the example of Jesus Christ, that what we keep we lose; only what we give remains our own.  
May our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be near us to defend us, within us to possess us, around us to preserve us, before us to guide us, behind us to justify us, and above us to bless us.  Amen.


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