When I was still living in the Rectory, my home flooded twice. Those two floods and the after consequences were perhaps the most painful times of my life. When I had gotten through those two terrible, terrible events, only in looking back, despite the enormous pain, I knew they had been the very best times of my life. Certainly not while going through them; only afterwards when I saw the person I had become and the gifts I had received did I see clearly how God works through the very worst of times.
I bring those learned gifts to this uniquely terrible, terrible time knowing that even more gifts will be received. Certainly for me personally. Certainly, I pray, for a country (and world) where we will be more unselfish and generous and where we will seek to rise to the other’s best and to serve the common good.
On Saturday, my first Sabbath since the crisis hit, I took advantage of early hour’s shopping for those of us of riper years. It is the first time I’ve ever had to show my driver’s license to enter a store in order to buy groceries!
I was delighted to score peanut butter and coffee filters. The very best gift of all was church at checkout. Erica, my brave checker, and I had a good talk about God as she rang up my groceries. I came out of the closet and told her that I was a priest. She asked me if I could bless some oil for her because she was all out of holy oil. As God would have it, in the minutes it took her to find some oil on the nearly empty shelves (substituting almond for the out of stock olive), no one else came to her register to check out. There in Whole Foods we had a prayer service.
Later that day I decided to go to the nursery. My butterfly plant was covered in monarch caterpillars and they had stripped it to the stems.
My local nursery had gotten in a fresh supply of milkweed—limit four per person. Milk. Butter. Toilet paper. And now milkweed. Ah, life in a pandemic.
Martha and I had a chat as she rang me up. Her weekday job is working with seniors. She had bought some beautiful hanging baskets (on sale!) and delivered them (at safe distance) to the elder home-based folks in her church. As she told me about her ministry of far apart care, it was church, once again. At Another Place in Time.
When I got home, I realized that Martha had slipped a couple of extra milkweed plants in my car when she had helped me carry my purchases to my trunk. A passing of the peace, of sorts.
On Sunday, the loneliness of living alone was becoming heart hurting. I remembered something I’d learned from the two floods. It’s okay to ask for what you need—and then to receive what is given.
I reached out to my Oregon family. I joined them for online worship with their local church, New Hope. We FaceTimed. And last night, my wonderful daughter in law sent me photos of their day.
And there on Austin’s daily schedule, call Grandma.