“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf,
“and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide
is what to do with the time that is given us.”
The world is indeed full of peril,
and in it there are many dark places;
but still there is much that is fair,
and though in all lands
love is now mingled with grief,
it grows perhaps the greater.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, from The Fellowship of the Ring
Not a single one of us chose this – living and working and schooling and worshiping with restrictions — unable to easily share meals with friends and family, feeling estranged from those who have previously been a support during trials in the past.
Yet here it is:
We can’t simply wish these hard times away.
It is up to us what we do in response.
Do we puddle and want to disappear?
Do we get angry and look for someone/anyone to blame?
Do we leave it up to God and quietly wait for His plans to unfold?
Do we grab hold of this unprecedented opportunity to reconnect in unique ways and so expand, rather than contract, our community?
Yes. All of those. Sometimes all in the same day.
We are all in different places about how to manage this.
On the days I want to hide, someone is trying to pull me out into the light. On the days I feel angry, no one will listen to my rant.
On the days I have a “bright” idea to try something new that I’m sure everyone else will endorse, God tells me to just sit back and wait on Him.
The waiting for normalcy feels interminable. And normal won’t ever be the same again.
It is overwhelming to be tasked with loving one another while grieving the loss of what once was. Love no longer is cheap or superficial: a Sunday handshake and sideways hug. We can’t even see each other’s smiles behind our masks. We have to actually talk to and listen to one another. It is now the hard work of true fellowship, listening compassionately to the complaints of others even when we don’t agree and can’t possibly empathize.
We all know the grieving process takes its own time – it can’t be rushed nor can it be wished away. It takes us on a path we never wanted to travel to a destination we never wanted to visit. And so it is with the losses we are feeling now. We don’t know where we’re heading, or how far we must go, or who will travel with us and who is bailing out now or who will die before we get there. But for those who decide it is best to journey together, we can pick each other up when another falters.
This is love in the time of COVID,
love in the time of grief,
love in the time of political divisiveness,
love in the time of pleading with God to change things.
And He has. We have become the change.
Wherever you are, my love will keep you safe My heart will build a bridge of love across both time and space Wherever you are, our hearts still beat as one I hold you in my dreams each night until your task is done Light up the darkness my wondrous star Our hopes and dreams, my heart and yours, forever shining far Light up the darkness my prince of peace May the stars shine all around you May your courage never cease Wherever I am, I will love you day by day I will keep you safe, cling on to faith, along the dark dark way Wherever I am, I will hold on through the night I will pray each day, a safe return, will look now through the light Light up the darkness my wondrous star Our hopes and dreams, my heart and yours, forever shining far Light up the darkness my prince of peace May the stars shine all around you May your courage never cease Courage never cease