HAIR, NAILS AND THOMAS MERTON

I am a girly-girl. I like hair products. I like dipping manicures. I like shopping. I like dressing up.

There is none of this now, and I can’t believe how little I miss this stuff, especially since no one comes near me now!

Instead, I miss seeing my kids and their families. I miss church. I miss my friends. I miss problems that have a definite end-point. I miss petting dogs that cross my path. All right, I don’t miss hugs that much. I’m Norwegian. So shoot me. Social distancing: I can live with that. Business as usual for Vikings.

I’m afraid, too. I’m afraid to look at my ravaged retirement accounts. I’m afraid of leaders who are proud of their ignorance and ignore science. I’m afraid of getting sick. I fear for those I love.

Love dooms us to vulnerability. Love dooms us to a degree of caring that is almost painful. Love is also the basis of Christian faith, which tells us that love wins. Maybe not in the short term, but it will win. As Holy Week and Easter draw near, it will have a new urgency and put its message right in our face. There could be no other liturgical season so well paired with these times.

I have found some new “loves:’” Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Walz, reading without as many time constraints, hearing  Jayan read the Daily Office, baking cookies, making meals out of what I have without running to the store for this or that, sewing pillows for my new apartment. I love the early spring although I’ve lived here long enough to know it could be an imposter. I love the nurses and doctors, the service workers who clean up, the janitors and garbage collectors, all tireless and courageous, the heroes of our time. I love the historical references to victory gardens, wartime factories working overtime, courage culled from the example of those who preceded us.

I also love Thomas Merton, the cloistered monk who wrote so beautifully. Recently reimbursing myself in his work, I found these words that seem so appropriate now:

“I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. The sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, but now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this but it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

But they are, and we are, too.

See you in (virtual) church.

Barbara

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