A NOTE FROM FR. VINCE
I’m still trying to figure out what happened to me this weekend. I went out for an extended walk and was turning around to go back and walked right to the front door of the condo I lived in 'til October. I was almost searching for my key when it dawned on me where I was. The wrong distance wasn’t too far, only 8 blocks. That’s not as bad as when I moved to Waukee 18 years ago. I would be downtown for a meeting and drove home, only I was at the garage of where I lived in Altoona. Tell me that I’m not the only person who has done that.
Maybe it is just repetition that has to be altered---muscle memory---brain memory. Or is it the fact that I was mysteriously drawn to what was safe, and unsettled with what was new. That might be too deep. I think it was what made me comfortable in some strange way. I realize I’m rambling, and so what is my point? It is that we have lost what was comfortable 8 weeks ago. And it doesn’t even mean we were in a good place then. It just means we have high anxiety. What will happen to me (us)? What will the future hold? How do I (we) survive this crisis? What does my faith teach us about this moment? Fill in one that fits you.
As I said last week, we can’t negotiate a glance toward a new future if we are trapped in the moment of lack of food, work, or little family or support. Many of you have checked all four of those boxes I just mentioned. Maybe the simplest choice we must negotiate doesn’t mean the easiest; it’s the choice between coming together or breaking apart. Those are the two choices of the same decision we all must make. Will we be a stronger family or a weaker one? Will we be a stronger community or a weaker one? Will we be a stronger nation or a weaker one? Even in the midst of crisis, we have to make fundamental choices.
For me, that’s where I think my faith guides me. Maybe you too! I really don’t like the wrist bands that said: What Would Jesus Do? But I can’t come up with a better one at the moment. Remember, my faith is not the same as my religion. Hopefully they are in unison, but not always. My religion is the set of practices that help me put my faith into action. The action desired is how we treat other from next door to the next continent. Crises, however, can cause divisions. We see what is different than what can bind us. Jesus and the church set before us fundamentals. They are morals, ethics, values, and beliefs. I know that I can’t get there on my own; especially now! That’s why we need our parish back in community gatherings. We miss the connections that helped bind us together. For now, we rely on muscle memory. We do the good things we have been taught, and do them over and over. For now, that may be enough.