What a year 2021 has been so far! We hear cries of those completely “over” this pandemic and ready to resume something close to “normal;” we witness civil and political unrest with calls for unity and peace; we hear of more COVID-related deaths. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the news, opinions, fear, isolation, lack of purpose or drive, and the lines at stores.
I must admit that it’s easy to despair. In prayer before composing this article, I asked the Spirit to inspire, to be present with me in my writing and with you in your reading. Even in that prayer, I admitted defeat in not knowing what to compose. Our fatigue is very real. We have been drained of empathy, compassion, and caring throughout these times. The biological and spiritual pandemics have infected every corner of our world. Yet wherever we go, God is already there.
This may be the longest beginning to a year in recent memory, yet God is already present. As the Blessed Fred Rogers reminds us, we must look for the helpers. We must keep our eyes on those who care for others, those who dedicate their lives to the kindness and goodness in humanity. These caregivers are what replenish our hope, our empathy, and our compassion.
As we journey with the Magi in this season after the Epiphany, we carry with us all those human elements of fear, despair, and a sense of being overwhelmed. Thankfully, there are those helpers and carers who tend the hearts and spirits of those on the journey. We are able to be carers and to be cared for in these times. How are you hearing the call to care for others? How are you caring for yourself? How are you caring for those who care?
This journey is not easy, nor should it be. Yet God is present now and always, ready to hold us through the kindness and love of others. We care through our prayers, our actions, and our words. In a time when words are hurled at other humans, we are called into the Way of Christ. We are called to reject the spiritual pandemics and words filled with hatred and fear, silencing others. We are compelled into a new reality of kindness, listening, and of seeking understanding.
This has already been a long year. It doesn’t have to be a spiritually painful one. We have the power to listen, mend, heal, and be the kindness and love of Christ in the world.
Thanks be to God.