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Holding On in The Letting Go in A Pandemic: Twists and Turns

Holding On in The Letting Go in A Pandemic: Twists and Turns

Guest Column by Lace Williams-Tinajero

From coast to coast and across the waters, every continent awakens and retires to the same news: Pandemic cases dwindling here, surging there, vaccination and mask mandates, violence, and unprecedented weather events.

From Titisee-Neustadt to the Taj Mahal, with the flow of time the clock coo-coos on the hour as it remains fixed.

India’s lack-of-oxygen crisis overflows into their chemical-tainted waters.

Too much need. Not enough provision.

Regardless of how much front-line workers give themselves away, they work at noble speeds to save lives and kill the virus, the guarantee of a happy ending is uncertain.

The same air that we billions mindlessly breathe, fuels a new day.

Taste and see the black smoke emitted from the truck, hailing tattered flags with a window sticker that says, “God, Guns, Glory!”

Or the yellow diamond Guns-On-Board window decal touting “We don’t call 911.”

Or “We’re not Dick’s. We sell guns.”

Or “F*ck Biden.”

It feels impossible to be safe, to be healed, to inhale pure air. Anywhere.

Recently, one late night, my son’s school intercepted a threat made by a student who had posted, “Aboutta become the silent school shooter.”

I freaked out.

My son freaked out.

He said he wasn’t going back to school, ever.

I sat next to him as he fought against falling asleep. My words failed to reassure him. He struck the bullseye—my heart—when he told me to try to feel how he feels; to imagine how bad I would feel for the rest of my life if I made him go to school and he died.

OMG. Have mercy on me, a poor excuse for the mother I am.

I responded as any rational, level-headed, well-read parent would.

I blurted out, “Son, if anything were to ever happen to you, I would never forgive myself . . . I wouldn’t want to go on living without you.”

This didn’t help.

What helped was I promised to take him to school in the morning, wait outside the school, and only leave the premises when I thought it safe to do so. Then I spoke a benediction over him, the one I’ve blessed him with every night since his first, but this time adding,

“The reason why you MUST return to school is because we are not going to let evil win. We are not going to give into fear.”

I was preaching to myself.

A few hours later I was driving him across town to the school in the dark. I waited outside the school for a good while. Then I drove away toward the light of the rising sun.

What are we humans doing—to the universe, the skies, the earth, the waters, to each other, to ourselves?

Posed another way by The New Yorker contributor Adam Mann, “Is Mars Ours?”

The answer is not up to the Creator who created the human heart and gave it its rhythm.

The answer lives within each of us. Perhaps the hardest thing for God to do is reach a hardened heart. Not because God is unable and unwilling, but because we don’t know how to let God into that “too-painful” place.

Perhaps the hardest thing for God to do is reach a hardened heart. Not because God is unable and unwilling, but because we don’t know how to let God into that “too-painful” place.

Hatred seeps into a fractured heart, reshaping its view of the landscape by twisting and turning the way we relate to God’s creation as good. Whether every broken human heart is restored to one piece and its intended purpose—to receive and offer love—before going to the grave, depends not on God but on us.

In unpredictable twists and turns, this labyrinth called life presents no choice at times. All the while, it is riddled with endless choices.

Pandemic, choose. Beauty, choose. Life or death, choose. Love or hate, choose.

Choosing one path without knowing where it leads also means never knowing what the untrodden path would have been like.

Tending to one patient means depriving another of life-saving touch, the very touch infants depend on, to attach securely and thrive, says John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.

When the baby no longer cries, this is the point of worry.

Choosing one path over another is to say yes to what follows in every unfolding moment thereafter. Even in choosing this way or that way, fate has a way of bringing about its exact opposite.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn said, quoting from ancient philosophers for one of his book titled, “Wherever You Go, There You Are.“

The only certainty in the journey is the company of both happiness and sorrow. ‘Don’t wait,’ cries a voice in the wilderness. Life happens behind and beyond windows whether they are opened or closed. From the same well come water and debris. The neighbor with no trees has all the leaves.

We share earth, space, time, air—as one. Choose this.

Prayer:

Jesus,

Abide in me that I may abide in you, just as you abide in the Father.

Attune to me that I may attune my spirit to you, just as you attune to the Holy Spirit.

As a solitary branch may I attach securely to you, the True Vine.

That I may bear the kind of fruit your created world hungers for.

~Amen

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