“Days pass and years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles.”
So begins a Jewish Sabbath prayer: as true today as it was 2000 years ago. Why can we not see? There are so many things that we take for granted in everyday life – everyday miracles. We no longer notice them. We forget their miraculousness. So often, it is only when a gift is taken away that we see its value.
In good times, when we are happy and life is easy, we rarely take note of the uniqueness of creation. Many think that their good fortune is due to their own initiative. Those for whom life brings wealth and fame often feel that it is deserved, that they are so much more bright or skilled than others. They rarely question where they got that brightness or those skills. They do not see how easily those gifts can be taken away. While they may see their peers stumble and fall, they refuse to believe that they may fall into the same traps – indulgence, avarice, superiority, pride.
When we pass through darker times, it is easier to see the light. The COVID-19 crisis touched everyone, great and small. Social isolation brought unique anxiety to people who are not used to being alone. Thoughts of contracting disease brought great fear to many – often a mindless fear out of proportion to the actual danger. There was true danger to some, yet how many let mindlessness – blindness – rule over reality?
How many of us counted our blessings? How many of us took the time to meditate? Certainly, both the faithful and faithless prayed that they would be spared. Heaven was flooded with prayer requests. God has seen this happen over and over again. People turn to him in times of need, rarely in times of thankfulness.
Hopefully, the shortages in daily commodities opened eyes to the reality of need. Some people hoarded; some people made do. Some people used their ingenuity to manage their lives. Some took the opportunity to rekindle family life – cleaning and cooking together, having family meals, playing games together, getting to know each other. Dads and Moms brushed up on their parenting skills – how many parents today actually take care of their kids 24-7? No day care, no babysitters, no school, no after school activities, no movies, no playgrounds. Many, no doubt, prayed that this disruption of their lives would end soon.
Crises bring out the best and the worst in people.
Our Lenten and Easter observances were curtailed and sorely missed. Did you make use of the opportunities our church arranged to use social media to pray and enjoy liturgy “together” virtually? What was it like for you, to be alone with yourself and God? Did you feel His presence, or can you only feel that in church? Have you never learned to be with God one-on-one?
Perhaps we did learn that we take a lot for granted. Perhaps we are now grateful for the humble things in our lives that make life easier. Perhaps we now see that we must work together for our society to function, that we are dependent on the cooperation of each other. Perhaps we now see that we need Him more than ever.
For those of us that are surviving unscathed, to those of us who have recovered, thank God. To those of us who are grieving the loss of loved ones, take comfort that they are in the arms of our Lord.
Be grateful – thankful – for what you have. Try not to take it for granted. Keep the lessons we learned – helping each other through the times of trial and how easily what we have can disappear. Keep them in mind as we get back to normal, hopefully soon.
Open your eyes to what is around you. It is not there by accident, but through the Grace of God. Praise Him.
Bonnie G. Rees, President
ACW Diocesan Council