I live in a community of townhouses populated by singles, families young and old, and I believe at least a zillion children. I love it! Their shouts and laughter are refreshing – they make me smile. One of the bright spots of these past months has been seeing their parents doing things with them. I have actually met several people I had never seen before. My neighbor and I frequently have evening chats – 20 feet apart deck-to-deck. Families and friends are being celebrated. It is nice.
Today, I had an exceptional discussion with the man who lives three units from me. He was just returning from home from work after a long day but stopped to chat. We have chatted briefly on many occasions and the usual "How are you doing?"s were exchanged. Then the subject turned to the events of the past few weeks. Our conversations had never been particularly substantive so I was a bit surprised, yet I began to hear a perspective I had not expected from him. He is black. He talked, I talked but mostly I listened and learned. I was struck with just how easy it is to be lulled in to assigning preconceived views to others.
Conversation consists of talking and listening. It is easy to forget to do the listening part in a busy, rush-rush world but the world has slowed down, at least for a little while. I am glad for this. It has given me a chance to reassess my values and priorities – a chance to connect with people – a chance to appreciate others.
Thank you, God, for friends and neighbors. Thank you for providing this silver lining in the dark clouds of a pandemic and vile injustice. Thank you, God, for our diversity and uniqueness. Let me remember the blessings of this time along with the problems. Amen.