Franciscan Spirit Blog

We’re Not on This Journey Alone

Life is hard. So, whatever love is in your heart, nurture it, develop it, grow it, spread it.

I won’t pretend. Sometimes I just want to close my eyes. But fear doesn’t help any one of us.

So pull up a chair, my friend. It is porch chat time. I have plenty of chairs, even if only virtual. I’ll pour you a coffee. I made plenty. It’s the good stuff, no church-hour coffee here. It’s early, but I have wine if you prefer. And let’s talk, shall we?

Fear is not easy to avoid with the tsunami of data. And cognitive dissonance is alarming. In our circle, there is no room for fear or alarm or panic. And for anyone who trucks in falsehoods, please stop it. Let us remember: None of us is on this journey alone.

Many of us have been mentally ticking off moments in our lifetime when our world changed. Personal, mostly: births, weddings, deaths. And times when our world tilted: President Kennedy’s assassination, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina.

The power here is that this time of pandemic is truly collective. We are, literally, in the same boat. We pay a price if we don’t have these sit-downs, even if they’re virtual. It’s essential to do our part to slow fear and mute voices of alarm and panic.

When life is upside down, we easily forget the fundamental truth that we live from sufficiency, not scarcity. Even in times of distress. At the beginning of the lockdown in 2020, church was canceled, March Madness was canceled, public gatherings were canceled. The world felt upside down.

Author Terry Hershey talks about how his book Stand Still addresses the idea of dealing with life’s rough patches.

Author Jamie Tworkowski posted this on Twitter:

Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.
And I would add,
Gardening will not be cancelled.

Watching the moonlight filter through the trees will not be cancelled. And lifting one another’s spirits will not be cancelled. May we lean into the good stuff that remains. The sacrament of the present moment will still anchor us, center us, calm us. No matter what else is going on around us, it invites us to pay attention to the things that really matter.

Here’s a list:

  • Pause. Stand still. Breathe.
  • Reach out to loved ones, friends, acquaintances, strangers: A word of understanding, encouragement, even just a smile.
  • Savor beauty wherever you notice it.
  • Practice gratitude. For everything. The good, the bad, the difficult, the joyous, the challenging, the reassuring.
  • Care for those who are vulnerable. And let others care for you.

This is not a time to castigate. This is not a time to eschew responsibility. In fact, I do take responsibility to make choices that will fuel hope, consolation, calm, and tranquility.

Transformative events will be hard. So, whatever love is in your heart, nurture it, develop it, grow it, spread it. Spread it to your family, but don’t stop there. Spread it beyond. It is the only force that can heal our broken world. And don’t let your heart be infected with selfishness.

Stand Still by Terry Hershey


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