Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I write amid thunder and lightning (last Monday), and it feels like the kind of storm we were supposed to have and didn’t last weekend. Go figure.

Now I’m praying for the folks on the east coast, especially for my sister Cathy who lives outside Raleigh. By the time you read this whatever will happen will have happened. So weird.

Time is a mysterious phenomenon. Our pasts, presents, and futures can become so entangled. Nothing more reminds me of that every time I write one of these Twitches.

You would think after all this time – after all, I’ve been writing these weekly messages for parishioners here and back at St. Louis for nearly forty years – you’d think I might figure it out.

The one thing I really do think I have learned is that time is a gift, a gift of God, and since he keeps it in his hands, I need to let it be whatever mystery it will be, since God is Mystery.

When I find myself thinking about that Mystery, sometimes my biggest challenge is trying to ramp up my gratitude. I always seem to fall short. But then, I guess it would be very presumptuous to think I can match the gifts God has given me with a gratitude that equals His gifts.

Still, in many ways, maybe that’s the point of our lives, that we strive as hard as we can to live lives of gratitude and in gratitude; to do and say and be whatever we can for the people we encounter, and to feel grateful for whatever they offer us.

Speaking of things people can offer us...

Thank you for being so good about doing your best to respond to COVID-19. Keeping distances and hiding behind masks don’t come easily to me. I’ll bet it’s the same for you. Still, you can think of it as a gift you give to someone else.

More than once I’ve had an angry moment when I see or hear about people not being willing to cooperate. I grit my teeth. A couple of times I actually managed to pray for them. I especially “love” the folk who start in about their constitutional rights. I must have missed an amendment, somewhere between prohibition and its demise. Just crazy.

Today’s Mass scriptures offer us Elijah hearing God in a whisper despite storms and earthquakes and fire. In another storm, Jesus walks on water and says, “Don’t be afraid.” Then he also says to Peter, probably with a large sigh in his voice, “O you of little faith...” ...kind of wistful comment that runs something like, “Why is it taking them so long to get what I’ve been showing them and telling them?”

If it’s any comfort to you, even after 79 years, I can still hear Jesus saying to me, “Why is it taking so long for you to get it?” The good news is that we seem to have a working relationship, where I am not taking his love for granted, and he is willing to put up with my slowness in being grateful.

I’ve heard some of the medical experts say that if we could close down the whole shooting match for three weeks across the country, we be able to beat the virus. Imagine all of us agreeing to something at once. It reminds me of a moment many years ago when a good friend of mine, a neighboring rabbi, told me, “Gather four Jews in a room and you’ll have eight opinions.” (Rabbi Auerbach passed away some years ago, and it warms my heart to know with certainty he sees the Lord.)

Hang in good friends. This too shall pass. In the meantime, we have the chance to earn all sorts of heavenly Brownie points by being masked, distanced and genuinely praying for the folks that don’t get it, ...yet!

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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