Today’s find: ‘Social Distance’

While taking care to maintain our ‘social distance’…and to wash our hands regularly…a few of the “6:30 Mass regulars” have chosen to keep our post-Mass kaffeeklatsch going — even without Mass — in recent days.

Staying safe…and keeping our distance…in the local coffee shop.

Today, we learned that our already-nearly-abandoned coffee shop will soon close the doors to its dining area. So who knows what’s next for our little group…our little “extension service” of the Body of Christ? But in the meantime, I took note when one of the guys mentioned this morning how apropos the “Day 22” reflection in Steadfast Spirit is for the circumstances we’re all experiencing at the moment.

I asked him to remind me what I had written seven years ago: What was the long-ago “Day 22” topic that had now become so very topical? And I had to agree, he had a point. So I’ve decided to make it my “blog post” for today — along with my prayer that all of my readers are staying safe, and resolving to entrust their fears to the Lord.

Day 22

Today’s find: ‘Not knowing’

It’s been four days since Ellen and her companions left for their mission trip to Haiti, and we haven’t heard a peep.

That’s actually good news. Due to the vagaries of the infrastructure there, we agreed before she set out that we wouldn’t expect to hear from her unless something had gone wrong. So I’m happy, more or less, that our daughter has been incommunicado this week.

“Not knowing” can easily morph into something a bit more sinister, though, can’t it? So often, we want to know, because “knowing” on some level gives us the impression of “control.”

If I can just wrap my head around this challenge, then I can start working the problem. Defining the metrics. Picking the stage-gates. Reporting the progress.

“Knowing” is the first step in convincing myself that I can get this whole thing fixed, once and for all.

Except that’s not really how things work, not all the time anyway.

There are grievous hurts, there are diseases, there are sinful patterns, there are societal ills, there are disasters that I am utterly unable to control. And when I am confronted by them, the heart of the matter may well be figuring out how to find grace, rather than anxiety, in the “Not Knowing.”

Can I let go of the need to be in control?

Can I trust that God’s hand is at work, even when it’s impossible to peer up around the bend?

I can’t honestly say that’s the sort of faith-walk I had in mind when I gave up on Game Six a couple of Octobers ago.[2] And, truthfully, it’s been a bit of a struggle for me this week: my mind uneasy, even as my heart is confident that the Mighty One has good things in store for Ellen and the children she’s met at Ecole de L’enfant Jesus in Petit-Goâve.

Which is to say, I am a work-in-progress when it comes to “Not Knowing.” But every time I say “yes,” every time I ask the Lord to bless my reluctance, God does in fact provide “a lamp unto my feet.” (Psalm 119: 105) What’s more, God’s plans are always bigger than my plans, and potent enough to shine great light into some of the darkest places on earth.[3]

Given that bountiful history, what more, really, do I need to know?

– ddd –

Scripture, to pray and ponder:

Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.

Deuteronomy 4: 9


[2] Yes, I gave up and went to bed before the end of the “David Freese Game” played by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 – missing out on one of the all-time classic conclusions to a World Series contest. My son later found something redeemable in my act of faithlessness:

[3] And yet, I witnessed in April 2012 what was perhaps an even greater miracle than the Cardinals’ comeback in Game Six: Christ’s grace penetrating the walls of a supermax prison, and offering a spiritual freedom to men who were literally chained to the floor:

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4 thoughts on “Today’s find: ‘Social Distance’

  1. Becky

    I was thinking the same thing this morning when reading Steadfast Spirit. Thanks for sharing. So enjoy your writing!

  2. Mary Jost

    Powerful John.

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