We Watch Family Feud Now

It’s come to this.

Some of us are eating donuts.  Some of us are making potholders.  HH and I are watching 2017-era Family Feud reruns.  It takes less effort than playing Scrabble and slightly more effort than playing Spelling Bee on my NY Times app.

Therapists are telling us that the pandemic is exhausting.  It impacts our brains in a variety of ways from making us foggy to making our sleep fitful.  Even National Geographic is weighing in.

Please tell me you have adopted some brainless habits after a day of homeschooling and zooming.  Please do not tell me you’re learning Mandarin or writing a novel.  But if you are, I’m grateful your brain is tolerating those efforts.

My brain has decided – at least for today – that Steve Harvey is hilarious.

Rocking the Balcony in a Time of Pandemic

If you have an extra five minutes and 47 seconds today, do yourself a favor and watch this lovely story from one of my pandemic church communities: CBS Sunday Morning.  You’ll be so happy you watched.

Strong leaders in both non-profit and for profit organizations are taught to take the balcony view if we want our organizations to thrive.  Yes, leaders need to do triage and oversee nuts and bolts details.  On any given day I spend a chunk of time:

  • Finalizing grant processes
  • Answering emails and texts
  • Meeting on Zoom (Jesus be my tech support)
  • Reading articles about resilience, loneliness, government updates, and epidemiology
  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking on screens
  • Talking with God

But my best work is done alone time drinking coffee on my own balcony or walking through the neighborhood in order to think.

I love a balcony.  I heart The Big Picture.

[Very personal note: My top Strength on Gallup’s CliftonStrengths is Futuristic.  At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I can see the future because: Holy Spirit.  I love what I see because God is unspeakably amazing – although we often get in the way because we are selfish, greedy and stubborn – but that’s for another blog post.]

Elizabeth McDaid wrote this article in 2016 which pulls in the Balcony Thinking of everyone from Heifetz and Linsky to Fredrick Ouko to the Buddhists.  (Check out more about Fredrick Ouko here.)  She helpfully explains how to rock the balcony.

This is an essential time for Balcony Observations.  We have got to look at:

  • What’s truly feeding people spiritually and what’s not?
  • Where is the energy and where is the soul-sucking?
  • What’s the impact?
  • Why oh why are we doing this, especially if nobody is being fed, energized or positively impacted?

God is giving us this time for Dramatic and Faithful Transformation.  These are the days when:

  • Politically – we need to look at student loan policies, immigration policies, gun policies, minimum wage policies, and building our nation’s physical and technological infrastructure.  What is truly just for a nation that declares these words?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  • Physically – we need to ensure that every single person within our borders has shelter, food, and health care.  These are basic human rights.  (May God have mercy on us if we stand in the way from serving the poor.  Seriously, we are playing with Cosmic Fire.)
  • (And speaking of God) Spiritually – we need to commit to spiritual practices that look more than What Jesus Was Talking About and less like sentimental social clubbing.

This is what I see from the balcony.  What about you?

“You’ve Heard It Said, But I Say . . . “

I love what The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta has come up with in terms of advising their congregations about “re-opening.”*

There are two columns of advice published side by side.  The first column states OPENING UP AMERICA GUIDELINES.  The second column states the PRESBYTERY OF GREATER ATLANTA RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHURCHES.  Reading it reminds me about what Jesus said here.

In a nutshell, Jesus pointed out what the law said (“You’ve heard it said . . . “) and then he offers a different standard (“But I say . . . “)

We who are familiar with Jesus know this ratcheted-up version of the law:

  • Turn the other cheek.
  • Share your coat AND your cloak.
  • Do not look at other people with lust (i.e. don’t objectify them.)
  • Love your enemies (also reconcile with them)

If you read the whole passage, Jesus is clearly asking us to be outrageously loving towards other people – including the ones who make us crazy/angry/feel hurt.  This is coming from the guy who prayed that God would forgive the very people who tortured and executed him.

Jesus’ rules are really, really hard to follow.  The focus is on loving our neighbors.  Sounds easy but it’s not easy.

And this is why the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta (and maybe other Christian leaders) are saying that . . .

  • While Phase 1 in much of America has said “no more than ten people should gather” . . .
  •  . . . They are recommending that “churches should continue recording worship serviced while maintaining six feel of social distancing.”

In North Carolina, the governor is receiving constant pressure to allow churches to “open” again which makes the assumption that our churches have been closed.  Almost no churches have “closed” where I live.   Here’s one group of leaders recently highlighted on WRAL in Raleigh.  (Thank you colleagues.)

“The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands.”

Amen and amen.

We who are keeping our church buildings closed beyond the state requirements could be called overly cautious or even “faithless” (if we believe that tempting God is okay.)  We are doing this not because we believe that COVID-19 is more powerful than the Creator.  We are doing this to protect the vulnerable among us – the immune-deficient, the elderly, those with respiratory conditions.  Many of the most vulnerable would be the first to come into our sanctuaries and sit on pews and hold hymnals and even share a common cup – if that’s what somebody said was okay.

We’ve heard it said that worshipping six feet apart and refraining from passing the peace is the law.  But Jesus said we need to go further for the sake of the vulnerable.

At least this is how I interpret scripture.  Everything in Scripture from Genesis to the Revelation points to this Truth.  Read this.

So, please stay home – even if the law says it’s okay to venture out and get a pedicure.  Can we at least consider sacrificing our personal desires for the safety of others for just a little longer?

* If your church has continued to offer worship and mission, you have never closed.

 

Pandemic Drowning

Last weekend when the weather was sunny and cool, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte was crowded with dog-walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.  It was lovely.

The Greenway is a low-lying walking/biking path that floods often after heavy storms. Along the path are regularly placed signs warning of the dangers.  This is not the place to walk your dog during a thunderstorm.

This warning sign (above) reminds us to be careful ourselves and to look out for others in trouble.  I would like to post these signs on every screen, street corner, and sidewalk.

Some of us are drowning.  We are drowning in Zoom meetings, Go-To-Meetings, Google Hangouts and Skype meetings.  We are drowning in phone calls, texts, and emails. We are drowning in grant proposals, worship prep and trying to make it okay that our graduations, weddings, funerals, and birthday parties are not what we expected.

I have several friends planning virtual ordinations.  There will be no laying on of hands the way the early disciples did it and this makes my heart hurt.

We (who are threatened with drowning) can take precautions.  We can rest up.  We can refrain from gorging ourselves on junk food before leaping into the deep.  We can cling to life preservers (also called “therapists.”)  We can stay close to the Life Guard (also known as Jesus.)

And – at least as importantly – we can help others who might be drowning.  One of the best things to offer is encouragement to step back from the flood.  If you are a supervisor, encourage your staff to take a nap in the sun.  If you are the parent of a school-aged student, offer lessons in cookie baking and dirt digging.  If you are in contact with “essential workers” thank them profusely – preferably with gift cards and huge tips.

We can prevent pandemic drowning.  We can prevent our own pandemic drowning and the pandemic drowning of our colleagues and loved ones.  Sometimes people need permission to stop.  Sometimes we need encouragement to step away from our computers and our phones.

I love it when people ask me, “What is giving you life today?” so, I’ll ask you: “What’s giving you life on this particular day in Pandemic World?”

This is a really good time to toss people a life preserver.  Just like the person in the picture above, everybody is walking around with an ! above their heads.  Let’s keep this in mind as we connect with them today.

Believing When We Haven’t Yet Seen

The Bible speaks about this.

There was a widely shared news story over the weekend about a particular church in Calgary, Alberta with 24 cases of COVID-19 among its members.  Two of those members did not survive.

It was mid March –  just as wide spread quarantines were getting started in the western hemisphere. 42 members of Living Spirit United Church had attended worship followed by a birthday party for a beloved member.  The church did all the right things:

  • There was social distancing.
  • There was hand washing.
  • There were less than 50 people present.
  • There were safety gloves.

As some of our congregations consider reopening in the coming weeks, I hope we listen to scientists.  And I also hope we listen to Church People who wish they’d been even more cautious.  The Pastor of LSUC Rev. Shannon Mang offers this reflection:

There seems to be this huge divide between those who’ve experienced (COVID-19) and the majority who haven’t. Think about the oldest person that you hang out with and visit and take care of. Are you willing to give them up?

Many of us don’t believe it’s a problem – or it’s not as big a problem as the media is reporting. Some say we are wasting time not opening up our church buildings again.

As with so many things in life, we don’t believe it unless we see some evidence.  We need to know someone who has personally had COVID-19.  Or we need to have less than two degrees of separation from a COVID-19 victim.

Look at the lovely face of Dennis Edmund Morey pictured above. He was one of the members of Living Spirit United Church who recently passed away with complications related to COVID-19.  He attended the March 15 worship service and birthday gathering.

Mr. Morey could be a member of our church. I can see him as one of our ushers or one of our elders or a member of the choir.

Picture your favorite member of the deacons.  Picture the woman who leads the Tuesday morning Bible Study.  Picture the ladies who volunteer in the office on Friday.  Are we willing to lose these people – real human beings – so that we can return to worship in our sanctuaries?

A wise colleague pointed out yesterday that there is a certain generation of church people who will always attend Sunday morning worship services if they possibly can.  If the church building is open, they will be there out of devotion to God. It could be snowing.  There might be a tornado warning.  Perhaps there’s a pandemic.

We need to think of this generation before we open up our church buildings.

Yes, we miss each other terribly.  We miss seeing each other apart from screens.  But we need to stay safe and keep our loved ones safe.  Rev. Mang wishes they could go back in time and cancel that March worship service and birthday party.

This time next year, I hope that our Church Leaders can look back and feel confident that we did what we could to keep vulnerable people safe.  The Bible says something about this too.

Image of Mr. Dennis Edmund Morey, beloved husband of one, father of four, grandfather of five.

Economic Choices

Almost all parents have been working parents since the beginning of time.

It occurred to me a couple years ago that I was the daughter of a woman who worked outside the home who was the daughter of a woman who worked outside the home who was the daughter of someone who worked outside the home.  The four of us made our choices based on both family economics and  personal interest. We were all – also –  first born daughters.

I believe my own “work outside the home” is a calling.  And I could make a case that my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother also had a calling.  I was blessed to know all three of them into adulthood and I wished I’d asked more questions about their work lives.

Parents of all kinds are trying to do the best we can. I always wonder about those who cannot parent their children for whatever reason.  Mother’s and Father’s Days must be rough.

What increasingly interests me as I grow older are the stories associated with our parents and their economic choices.  My great grandmother was a young widow with five children and I wish I could talk with her about the choices she made (continuing to work in the family feed store and allowing her three sons to take some family farm land and create a little airport in the 1940s.)

My mother worked “outside the home” to help make ends meet, but she and my father also hired someone to clean the house and care for the children while they worked.  (My hunch is that the Black Woman who took care of us was quite “affordable.”  It’s part of my story, although it’s a hard part.)

These are some of the stories I recall about the economic history of my family. What stories do we tell each other about the economic history of our church family? 

  • There are congregations that started schools and hospitals “in the mission field” during the U.S. Civil War in spite of the fact that the war at home was expensive and many of their own families were poor in the mid-1860s.
  • There are congregations created after the end of World War II built through pledges that would now be considered too meager to buy property and build a new church building. I’ve seen old photos of church leaders clearing the trees off construction sites themselves to save money – or so the story is told.
  • There are congregation built by the local millionaire and those were the places to be – socially and politically.  The millionaires also built the hospitals and the cultural centers.  Being rich-adjacent in church was almost like being rich ourselves.
  • There are congregations who have always struggled economically because they serve communities of poor people.  If the majority of our church members are either unemployed or underemployed, we will struggle to pay for a pastor much less pay for an educator, a musician, an adminstrator and a sexton.

What is going to happen to all the congregations after this pandemic?  Even “wealthy” congregations have had to lay off staff members.  Those congregations without strong patterns of online giving are having to shift their culture whether they want to or not.  The activities which have financially supported their ministries – preschools, after school programs, room rentals –  have dried up due to quarantine requirements.

Nevertheless . . . (I love that word)

… we also have churches who would not consider themselves “rich” in that they have no wealthy members, much less millionaires who are thriving.  I’m watching grant monies come into some of our congregations wholly because they are missional churches with big dreams and committed leaders.

This is the time when our church members are making essential economic decisions about “the family.”  What post-pandemic stories will we re-tell ten or twenty years from now?

  • “Our church closed because we didn’t want to get our hands dirty.”
  • “Our church closed because we stopped supporting it financially when all the gatherings were virtual.”
  • “Our church make some financial sacrifices and opened up a summer center for students who were behind after digital learning, and it sparked a new chapter in our ministry.”
  • “Our church did what we had to do to keep up with our free lunch programs and our affordable housing efforts.  It only made us stronger.”
  • “Our church realized that we couldn’t financial survive the pandemic on our own, so we were moved to merge with another congregation and we are able to be so much more in partnership with them.”

What story will we tell about the work our churches did during the pandemic when we look back?  What decisions did we make because we had to?  What decisions did we make because we felt called to make them?

I’m so proud and grateful for the sacrifices my parents made, looking towards the future.  And I pray we can make similar sacrifices for the sake of God’s family.

Image of (left to right) my great-grandmother, my grandfather (her son-in-law) and my grandmother (her daughter), my mother (expecting her fourth child) and my father. Hope you and your family had a good celebration yesterday – however you observed it.

What If They Resist?

As churches consider the process of opening their doors in the coming weeks/months, there are definitely faithful people who want to open sooner than later.

  • Some believe outdoor worship is a safe alternative.
  • Some believe we can socially distance in worship gatherings.
  • Some believe that this whole COVID 19 situation is overblown.
  • Some believe that this whole COVID 19 thing is an elaborate hoax.

What do we do when members of our congregations insist on reopening and the pastor disagrees?  What happens when the pastors and other leaders themselves are particularly vulnerable to the virus?  What happens when some members declare that NOT gathering is a sign of faithlessness in Jesus the Great Physician?

Well, we have a wealth of theological conversations to have here, don’t we?

  • The Great Commandment declares that we are to love Jesus with our hearts, with our souls, and with our minds.  My grandmother used to say, “It’s amazing what the LORD has let us learn.”  God expects us to use our brains.  God created science and scientists.
  • Tempting God is not cool.  Anybody who says, “I’m going to lick this door knob to show how God is going to save me from the COVID” is tempting God.  Note that the devil quotes scripture here but is taking it out of context.
  • We are called to look out for “the least of these.”  This means that while I might be healthy or at least asymptomatic, I need to look out for those with auto-immune issues or other factors that might make them vulnerable.

There have been tweets going around asking, “Do you know anyone personally who has had COVID-19?” as if they personally do not and so it’s not real.  If you do not know one of the 25,676 (as of May 7, 2020) people in the United States or one of the 3.5 million cases in the world (as of 8:27 am ET May 8, 2020) or at least are connected by only two degrees to someone with COVID-19, you are quite sheltered and extraordinarily fortunate.**

I will share that everyone I know who has died of COVID-19 so far has been a black or brown person.  But that’s for another post.

As a follower of Jesus trying to bring justice to “the least of these” and trying to “make earth as it is in heaven” I hear and share personal stories about the things that break God’s heart which I’ve seen with my own eyes:  domestic violence, child abuse, systemic racism, systemic sexism, hunger, homelessness – all in our own neighborhoods and communities.  One of my cousins lives in the county where Armaud Arbery was murdered while jogging one day in February.  You don’t have to tell her there is systemic racism in her community.

But so many of my siblings in Christ resist these truths.  They don’t believe the stories.  They call even government statistics exaggerations or lies.

What do we do about the resisters?  What do we do about those who have to see evidence with their own eyes – and even then – do not try to stop the injustice and pain?

  1. We love them.  (We might not like them but we are commanded to love them because they too are Children of God.)
  2. We tell stories of what we’ve personally witnessed – not as weapons but as tools for building empathy.
  3. We remind them what Jesus says about how we are supposed to live.

If “getting back to church” as soon as possible is about returning to comforting experiences and familiar faces and personal enjoyment, we are missing the point of The Church of Jesus Christ.  Church is not about you.

If it’s about being the Church, even during a dangerous pandemic, we will adapt to different ways to worship, to offer comfort to others, to care for those impacted by this crisis the most.  Church is about us.

I’m in no hurry to “get back to church” because – actually – I am in church, I am doing church, I am part of the Church now more than ever.  I hope you are feeling that too.

Image from KXAN in Texas.

** My numbers here are low. Those were per day cases.

Once in a Lifetime

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it. You better never let go. You only get one shot. Do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.  Lose Yourself by Eminem

Okay, Eminem is not my usual go-to voice on church things, but I can’t get this song out of my mind as we discuss re-opening church buildings in the coming weeks.

I work with 96 congregations.  Some of them have essentially closed in that they didn’t have the capacity to offer online worship or Zoom meetings.  Some pulled off extraordinary worship experiences with breathtaking choral synchonization.  And most did something in between.  But all of our church leaders are exhausted.  We’ve had to wrap our minds around a new way of being the church.

We’ve made technical changes: online worship, online giving, Zoom Bible Studies.

If we believe that those technical changes will (and must) go away after the pandemic is “over” so that we can return to “normal” we are missing a once in a lifetime opportunity in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ.

This is the perfect opportunity for Adaptive Change. Please let’s not waste this opportunity.

From this Fuller Seminary article:

Adaptive challenges happen when we ask people to adopt new beliefs, when we hope people will pursue better values, or when we help people see that the ways that they have been doing things in the past will not work for them. 

We need to read (or re-read) Ron Heifetz.  Here and here are places to start. Also:

  • Look at WHY we’ve done ministry a certain way. Is it about sentimentality first and foremost?  Or is it about making disciples of all nations?  Is church – for us – about personal comfort and good feelings?  Or is it about following Jesus in hopes of bringing in the reign of God?  Does it make sense to continue the way we’ve always done it if fewer and fewer people are spiritually fed?
  • Both/and is a good thing.  Expect the Church to offer both virtual and in-person practices in the future.  We are not going back to one way of worshipping God on Sunday mornings.  Or if we are, we do so at our own peril in terms of cultural obsolescense.
  • What practices have we appreciated during this pandemic and why?  I hear young parents say they love Zoom Church Meetings because they can participate without needing childcare.  I hear older people say they love Zoom Meetings because they don’t have to drive at night.  I hear almost everybody say that they love virtual worship on Sundays because they can participate with multiple services on a given morning while drinking coffee and wearing fluffy slippers.  Let’s build on these things.
  • Let’s try lots of things and see what works.  More than ever, we are serving diverse demographics and reaching out to new people (or at least we say we want to do this) and not everything will work for everyone.
  • In the midst of disconnection and isolation, how have our technical shifts influenced adaptive shifts?  Have we realized – once and for all – that The Church Is Not a Building?  How has the Church not been a building over the last 3 months?  Discuss.
  • Let’s look at the creative ways that Christian Educators and Children/Youth Ministers have been ministering to our youngest people.  Some of what I’ve seen is not only excellent, but it’s more relatable than ever for generations who already use screens for everything.  Again – technical changes spark conversation about adaptive changes for the sake of the Gospel.

I am on the brink of begging you, Church Leaders.  If we don’t use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-think and re-make the way we are the Church, we are fools whose churches deserve to die so that The Resurrected Church can thrive.

We cannot go back to the way we were the Church before March 15th.  Cue Eminem.  Such a good song.

Preparing to Reopen Our Churches Again

[For the record – if our churches have continued to offer virtual worship, virtual meetings, phone calls to check in, and mission giving – they have not been closed.  But . . . ]

. . . it’s possible that our church buildings will re-open in the coming weeks.  In my state of North Carolina, it’s possible that we can legally open church buildings on Pentecost Sunday IF Phase 1 of the three phase process of re-opening is successful in terms of no coronavirus spikes or setbacks.

This doesn’t mean that we should or must open our church buildings on Pentecost.  It won’t be as simple as unlocking the doors.

In fact the process of re-opening requires serious preparation.  It would be foolish to open without the following groundwork:

  1. Preparing the building. Deep cleaning the building including the nursery (and every toy), the bathrooms, all pews/chairs, all door knobs, all light switches, all mikes.
    1. Making sanitizer available to everyone.  If you don’t have sanitizer, don’t open the building.
    2. Posting signs reminding people to keep social distance and refrain from shaking hands.
    3. Marking seats with sufficient distance between worshipers.
    4. Cleaning between worship gatherings, classes, meetings in the building.
  2. Preparing the leaders. Instructing ushers and greeters to remind everyone to socially distance and use the sanitizer, and to direct traffic in ways to avoid unnecessary pile ups of people in the halls or aisles – not like police but like friendly tour guides.
    1. Instructing ushers to stand by the offering plates/boxes/baskets which have been moved to the entrance or exits of the worship space.  They will not be “passing the plate” for a while.
    2. Continuing leaders to encourage online giving for the rest of their lives and online meetings for at least a while.
    3. Ordering and sharing (from a tray) individual pre-packaged communion sets to be picked up on the way into worship.
  3. Preparing for Church Life’s New Normal. Exchanging paper bulletins for screens.  Same with hymnals.  Honestly, this is not about personal preferences anymore.  It’s about health and safety.
    1. Providing and wearing masks – even/especially for singing.  Apparently we spit when we sing.
    2. Allowing some volunteers to step back for now.  Some lifelong ushers, teachers, and music leaders might not feel comfortable continuing in those roles at the present time.
    3. Stopping coffee hour for now.
    4. Sitting at a distance.
    5. No more passing the peace except with our eyes and behind-the-mask smiles.
    6. Reminding people that the Church is not a building and social distancing can be Biblical – although immediately after this story, groups formed once again.  Jesus attracted a crowd.

This is a great time for our church leaders – elders, deacons, educators, musicians, and pastors – to prepare how we will “re-open” the Church. And it’s an act of faithful solidarity for all congregations in a particular city or town to have these conversations together so that all congregations of all kinds stand in unity.  It would be especially healthy for all houses of worship to open the same date if at all possible to illustrate that the whole faith community is on board with being safe together.

In spite of the tragedies that this pandemic has wrought, the Church is blessed with an amazing opportunity to move into the 21st Century.  More about that tomorrow.

Image of pre-packaged communion.  Some of them are hard to open so consider how we’ll safely open them for small children or people with arthritis.  

Who Are Your Comfort People?

[Note: The trafficking of Korean, Chinese, Filipino and other women called “Comfort Women” was a heinous act committed by the Japanese military during WWII.  I refuse to let this hijack the word comfort so I’m reclaiming the word for this post on Comfort People.]

Just as there is comfort food we are lavishly consuming during this pandemic, there are people in the world who automatically bring us comfort.  Merely the presence of some people – even on Zoom – has a calming effect.

Just as different people are comforted by different kinds of foods, we are individually comforted by different kinds of people.  I have a friend known for her creative snarkitude and yet I am thoroughly comforted by her photos and tweets.  She probably ticks off a lot of people but I feel peace in her presence.

The opposite of Comfort People might just be Toxic People and I wonder if they know who they are.  Maybe I am toxic to some folks.  I hope not, but if I am, it’s okay not to hang out with me or return my calls.

Toxic people – if I can be so bold – are exhausting.  They suck the life out of you with no self-awareness.  They (we?) never ask “How are you doing?” Or maybe they ask and don’t seem to pay attention to the answer.

Enough about toxicity.  Let’s get back to comfort.

Comfort people bring relief without saying or doing much.  It’s who they are.  Their very presence is soothing.

I believe Jesus could be a demanding friend, but that doesn’t exempt him from also being a comforting presence. Some of my most demanding friends are comforting because they are demanding. (You will get past this.  You’ve got this. Get out there and show the world that you can kick some toxicity @^*.)

I am blessed with lots of people who bring comfort into my life by their mere presence.  On the Zoom calls I find that some faces bring me deep joy.  I miss seeing them up close and personal.

As many of us are reaching our limits in terms of Zoom calls and working from home and wearing masks in public and craving food from restaurants not doing take out and wondering how much longer we can look presentable without a haircut, consider asking yourself this:

Am I toxic person?  Am I am comfort person?  What can I do to focus more on the needs of others and stop feeling sorry for myself?

Whether quarantines will soon be lifted or not, we owe it to each other and to our Maker do try to bring more comfort into this world.  The suffering in this pandemic is uneven.  How can we support those who are suffering the most?

Image of people who bring immediate comfort to me:  John Lewis, Atticus Finch, Thelma Adair, Mr. Rogers, Mom.  I was on a Zoom Call with Dr. Adair last week and my heart is still rejoicing.  She will be 100 years old this August.