We know the deal: the two-year-old fashionista declares her independence from parental interference, stating: “I do it myself!!” She later emerges from her room with a t-shirt on backwards, pants still (to her great frustration) unzipped, mis-matched socks, shoes on the wrong feet. We also know not to attempt a correction, thereby avoiding the inevitable screeching meltdown. We do love to exercise our freedom from all guidance and the freedom to mess up, however dire the consequences. It has been humanity’s usurped privilege since the Garden. God’s Creation, Nature, is one of the great levelers of our stoic take-it-on-the-chin stance. We have spectacular weather events here in the USA: twisters, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, floods, nor’easters, hailstorms, snowstorms/blizzards. These impact everyone indiscriminately, instantly transforming the most rugged among us into seekers of community support, ready, at last, to acknowledge the folly of the poet’s words: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ This occurs in other situations as well: the elevator gets stuck mid-floor, the power goes out in the airport, shutting down all computers, the internet goes down at the office, traffic shuts down for hours following a multi-car pileup. People who would never speak to a stranger, finding themselves at a loss, discover points in common with others they’d never imagined. For all our bluster and posturing, we remain a fragile bunch!

As we prepare to celebrate the first anniversary of the pandemic, the truth, that we are far more connected and in need of one another than we may have believed, bears down on us in force. Support systems, routines, jobs, family schedules, travel plans, the ‘old’ normal, all have been disrupted in previously unthinkable, jarring ways. Perhaps of primary importance is recognizing what hasn’t been shaken, namely God’s love song, his provision, his continuing encouragements, the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I keep thinking of the Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Rome, that the whole world in his day was groaning, waiting for the children of God to be revealed, for them to speak into the darkness, the chaos, the fear and anxiety. I wonder if that’s still true today. If it is, how are we revealed?  PD

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