Tender Courage 3.20.20
A friend of mine from Buffalo just shared a blog post with some definitive advice for how to endure the virus: stay home and eat two cookies a day. She even linked to a half dozen cookie recipes although her stated preference is Girl Scout Cookies, specifically S’mores.
I admire her clarity, but then think to myself: if only it were so simple. I’m watching this congregation navigate what I’m now calling “The Big Pivot”. I see people supporting each other in profound ways. I see people sharing their struggles over social media with vulnerability and honesty. I see us focusing on what truly makes us a church: connection.
And I’m watching myself: I’m stunned by how much harder it is for me to concentrate. I’m anxious about the most vulnerable among us. And like everyone else, I just really want to know when this is going to end. Everyone is carrying a lot right now, and each person requires a personal strategy unique to their particular circumstances. But I’m reminded of the advice I once got from nun.
Sister Maria was a Sister of Mercy, the religious order that runs schools and health care centers across the globe. Sister Maria told me that the Sisters of Mercy understand mercy as “tender courage”. Tender courage seems like what we’re all called to right now. We must be gentle with each other, with the person who is out of patience in a house full of family and with the person who is so lonely (and with the person who is both). And we must be courageous in quiet ways, like staying positive in the face of uncertainty, learning new things (like zoom) to adapt, and knowing that we’ll get through this.
I hope tender courage shows up for you in this hard time. And I’d love to hear how things are going. If you feel like it, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m praying for all of us.
Warmly, Rev. Bob