Encouragement for Phase One

by Becky Williams

Jesus said, ”If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

This sentence is from the Gospel for this Sunday…John 14:15. In particular, the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself comes to mind.

With the beginning of Phase I of recovery, this is even more important than ever. Maybe you’re tired of being at home, not going out to eat, having to wash your hands, keeping social distances and away from friends and/or family, not being able to shop at your favorite local stores, wearing a mask when making groceries, hunting for hand sanitizer, having stacks of toilet paper in the living room (yes, I do…and paper lovely!)…but all of this protects our neighbors, those who are known and unknown to us.

In trying to find the right words to bring comfort and hope, I found this prayer, and may it be a source of comfort to you as we all continue to care for each other... by wearing masks, keeping our distances, and all of those practices are that keeping ourselves, our families, and our neighbors safe and healthy.


What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar, March 11, 2020

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