Today is April 1st. April Fool’s Day was always a fun holiday in my house growing up. I remember putting food coloring in the milk. I remember putting rubber bands around the kitchen sink sprayer so that it would spray the person turning on the faucet. I guess that’s more amusing for the person creating the booby trap than the one getting wet.
Today I see that it’s the first of the month because my rent is due and because a new family is unloading UHaul next door. Aside from that, nothing is normal about this April first and nothing feels lighthearted in the midst of this pandemic.
The reality of the situation is setting in incrementally for me. First there was the school closing, then the Fellowship closing, then the state of Michigan closing until April 13, and now until April 30. More and more things are being cancelled, further and further out in the calendar. This week I postponed my ordination ceremony, scheduled for April 25. As for General Assembly, scheduled for late June, that hasn’t been cancelled yet. Re-scheduling anything that was cancelled feels impossible, because I just can’t grasp what June, July, and August might look like.
The truth is that the human mind can only handle so much paradigm-shifting information. I am taking this in incrementally because my brain can’t handle it all at once. Right now I’m at the stage of going to the grocery store and then disinfecting the packages I bring home. I’m not mentally ready for wearing a mask every time I go outside for a walk. I think that day is coming, and I will deal with it when it comes.
It’s the same way with the news. My brain and my heart can handle part of the truth of this pandemic, but I can’t comprehend the whole. Stories from New York City and Italy and India right now are overwhelming.
And it’s the same way with my circle of friends, family and loved ones—in which I am including this congregation. Two weeks ago I was aware of the first friends and acquaintances being ill with the virus (confirmed or presumptive). I took that in and adjusted to it. Last Sunday during Joys and Sorrows, two people in the congregation shared the sorrow of knowing someone who has died from the virus. Now my brain and my heart are taking that in. This is the new normal now.
I’m trying to be awake and aware, not burying my head in the sand, and I’m acknowledging that I can’t adjust to all the changes all at once. If I take care of myself, I will be ready for tomorrow’s challenges when they come, and I can even prepare for those challenges today.
I hope this is true for you also: may you take in as much as you can handle of these sad and scary and very new times. May you be good to yourself. And may you be present in this moment, the only moment there is, and know that you are loved and OK right now.
Spirit of Life and Love. God. Infinite Source of Love and Comfort.
Hold us in this moment. Allow us just as much of reality unfolding around us as we can handle. May we be awake to our own strength and courage, far greater than we imagined it would be. May we be alive to the suffering of others, with compassion and resolve.
May we find joy and laughter, reminding us on this April Fool’s Day that mischief and laughter are part of every human life.
With joy, sadness, and fear we are alive in this moment.
Aho. Amen. Blessed be.
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Rev. Andrew Frantz
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