when the good times roll, they can drift apart.
I’ll still be loving you—no matter what goes right.”
The quote above is from a song called “No Matter What Goes Right” by a wonderful and little-known band called Trout Fishing in America. It turns upside down the familiar idea of hard times uniting people and considers instead the unusual promise that we can stick together no matter how good the times get.
I’m thinking about this in the face of dramatically good COVID news this week. Cases and hospitalizations are as low as they have been since around September, and falling fast. I’m so used to bad news in this pandemic that I don’t really know what to do with good news. I wonder if you feel the same way. Do I celebrate? Do I change my behavior and do things I’ve been waiting to do? Do I listen to the pessimistic voice within that says it will just get worse again soon?
Rationally, I say that now, on the downslope of the COVID curve, is the time to get together while we can. The COVID task force and the Board of Trustees agree, and they have lifted the congregation’s restrictions on gathering in person: starting this week we will be back to the limited in-person gathering that was allowed in December. If the virus is going to have ups and downs, it makes sense to (wisely, not recklessly) use the downs to our advantage in our individual lives and in our institutions. It makes sense to get together while we can—and to still wear our masks.
Emotionally, the virus has another reality. I am so battered by this pandemic that I don’t dare to hope very far. I want to allow myself to feel some actual rejoicing in this good news—when is the last time we had good news on the COVID numbers? And it’s hard. In this I recognize the long-term effect of trauma here. I’ve been traumatized by this virus, as we all have. I imagine that it’s natural for victims of trauma to be muted in their joy. I will be gentle with myself and allow joy and hope to come in their time.
God of life and love, Earth Goddess, Great Spirit:
I ask your blessing and mercy. May I pause to recognize the good news that is before me today. The virus is receding. Maybe not forever, maybe not to levels low enough to be “safe,” but today it is receding.
Let there be joy and let the joy be mixed with the sorrow of how many deaths and other costs have been exacted by this virus. If we have joy, it is the joy of the survivors, lucky to be alive and sad about those who have been lost.
God, Spirit: grant us, the survivors, our full measure of joy and of hope.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
February 17, 2022