As many of you already know, this is a strange time. It’s summer and the living should be easy, but you don’t hear Martha And the Vandellas singing “Dancing in The Streets”. Instead, we are hibernating in our houses, venturing out to get food, go to the doctor, the dentist. Maybe go for a walk.
Everything else, a lot of people are doing activities online. We are doing work online, business online, zooming and chatting with our friends online and going to church online.
This is all good and yet something is missing.
I’m not in the room with others. I’m missing the certain expression, the nonverbal behavior, the way that the light may shine on someone’s hair. All those subtle elements that contribute to effectively experiencing a person are currently getting lost in translation.
The sense of lost in translation really gets magnified when groups of people are trying to debate and determine policy issues. Right now, people are arguing whether to wear masks, whether to take down statues and monuments that are perceived as offensive or to leave them alone.
There is fear of contamination by air borne particles carrying a still not understood viral load. People are understandably concerned. For some people, getting sick will be a short-term inconvenience, for others it could pose to be a potential long-term disability and yet even for others, including those who are young, it could mean costing their lives.
All of this is quite sobering against what would be a blissful summertime backdrop, as Nat King Cole would observe, “those days of soda and pretzels and beer. “Instead of carefree serendipity, there may instead be a possible walk on the boardwalk, with a mask of course.
How do we deal with the fear that we are carrying? Yes, our lives are mortal, and our longevity is finite, but many of us desire to live well and to be happy. So, what we do?
Maybe, it might sound trite but perhaps Elvis Costello was right?
“What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? “
Think about it, what’s the recourse?
Somebody screaming or mumbling obscenities at you because you are or are not wearing a mask?
People physically fighting with each other regarding their understanding of history, whether it is a more traditional or revisionist reading?
We are in a difficult challenging time. The hope is that we can come out the other side is intact and perhaps wiser.
The Beatles were right when they observed:
“All You Need Is Love “
But what kind of love- one that is conditional, that insists on its own way, with its own set of demands;
Or are we looking for an unconditional love, one that accepts the other for who they are with no preconditions, no exception clauses, no fine print, but instead is a love, in the words of St. Paul, that hopes all things, endures all things, believes all things “ ( I Corinthians 13: 7 ).
We need a vaccine that will be fortified with peace, love and understanding that will be able to cleanse us from the contamination of the fear, hate and pain that we carry.
May we experience a future summer of ocean waves, beach chairs, bliss and contentment for the mind, body and soul.
May it be so.