It is a question that we ask others - family, friends and strangers - all the time, maybe several times a day. And it is a question that has taken on a new meaning in these days; there is more attention and weight to the response. The question is: "How are you doing?" All of us are doing our best during this time of virus which brings the reality of thousands suffering and dying across the world. We are doing what we can to be healthy and sane as we confront closures, restrictions, distancing, masks and an uncertain social, economic and cultural future. And we are all discovering it is not easy. I'll share my answer as to how I am doing to illustrate the point. In addition to the above, the pandemic has drastically shifted my priesthood, away from Eucharistic worship, spiritual formation and the general support of parish life to a time of videotaped morning prayer, mowing the church grounds and an increasing pastoral load which includes unpredictable calls of every variety. My teenage girls are confined to the home, attempting to complete their online studies without driving themselves, and us, crazy. We are dealing with a rather chronic health issue in the family (not the virus!). My car broke down and is in the shop. Our septic tank is full and needs attention. Wait. It gets worse. We can't find the septic tank. We have the engineering plans which diagram its location. And yet, there is no evidence that it is there. In these times, facing what the world brings, I can't even find my septic tank.
And yet, I wake up each day and the first thing I see is my wife's face. I breathe in the tropical air; the sun shines on my face. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, a cold beer at the end of the day. I have loved ones around me. I pray. My priesthood gives me the honor and privilege to try my best to support those in any need or trouble. I am blessed that this parish gives me the means to do so. I watch the world around me, the people that are on my same journey. I listen. In my limited travels around the island, among all the many dark businesses and empty parking lots, I see people going about what now passes as normal, trying to make their way through the day. Behind the masks and distance, I see offers of kindness and support, a new sense of caring and sharing, a stronger way of being together even though on the surface it appears we are more apart. I see the story of love breaking through the darkness, living and breathing in the lives on this island and beyond. I see moments every day which reveal that love is among us and in us. I see the light of the resurrection. And when the day is done, as I lay my head on my pillow to rest, the last thing I see is my wife's face. And, all of the sudden, I don't care where my septic tank is.
Love and Peace,