Sacred Connections: Make Good Choices
For the last several days I’ve kept remembering a conversation at one of our round tables during Adult Forum in the Great Hall which now seems as if it must have been eons ago. A young couple at the table were sharing how their grade-school aged children had described a new friend, “He makes good choices.” I was so struck by the wisdom and insight in their children’s words, and we all immediately understood what those words meant. How much more confounding those words may seem to us in the complexity of our own lives now.
For many of us it feels as if our outer circumstances keep changing due to concerns about Covid-19 and individual situations, and our constant work is sorting through these new variables as we try to make “good choices”. On staff, we are primed to listen for any new updates that involve changes in guidance for the city and county. And while there are some guidelines grounded in science that many of us will try very hard to abide by, starting with wearing masks, hand washing and physical distancing, there are a myriad of other decisions that each of us has already wrestled with or will still need to make over the coming holidays.
We’ve probably never put so much thought and conversation into: Who will we see? Who will we include? Where will we go? Who will we invite in? What will we forgo? How will we spend our time alone or together? How will we connect from a distance? How will we honor the preciousness of the time we have? How will we share blessings and thanksgivings for all that is, in the midst of grieving what is not? These are simple yet consequential questions, and not always easily answered given the physical, mental and emotional complexity of ourselves and the loved ones in our lives.
And then sometimes there’s an even more challenging question: How do we stay in our own lane and not judge others whose choices are vastly different from our own? We look at data, we inform ourselves of risks, we know the people we love and have a sense of their needs and concerns, and then we pray that the choices we make are wise, and loving and life-giving. For some of us, that may mean staying home, possibly alone. For others that may mean trying to visit loved ones while trying to keep everyone safe. We all have access to the scientific data and guidance and from there we try to make the best choices we are capable of.
And yet, we are all in this together quite literally, even when we might disagree strongly, even heatedly on what “this” is. We can witness firsthand the toll our choices can have on each other, even those we dearly love. The tensions between freedom and mutual accountability, between desire for connection and safety protocols can be very high. In my pastoral care responsibility, I receive prayer requests to be included in our Sunday Prayers of the People or on our Confidential Intercessory Prayer List. Most prayer requests relate to illnesses or difficulties in one’s own life or in the lives of loved ones, but one recent request was broader, “Pray that families (and friends) will make wise decisions about gathering during holidays."
Let us pray for us all to make “wise decisions” and “good choices” this Thanksgiving and in the days to come. And let us pray for compassion and understanding for each other in the hard decisions we must make. Despite the difficulties of these times, we are blessed with God’s love and the love we share with each other. Let us continually seek to walk this path of love.
Tags: Sacred Connections Blog