When Moses’s hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down. –Exodus 17:12
The last time I wrote here, there had been a shooting on the college campus where I taught. Now, we’re in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic shelter-in-place and school is online. I’m in a new job, which is truly amazing, and I’m happy with it. It’s been a good opportunity to work with students in new ways, and it’s kept me busy. Really, really busy. My son is schooling from home, attending Zoom calls with his classmates and his Cub Scout peers. My husband continues to work from home with a few choice trips out to empty clients’ offices.
I’ve been spending some time journaling and enjoying my fountain pen collection this morning. It’s a remarkably quiet moment alone with Greyson at his dad’s, and David is still out. My journaling wound its way through everyday things to existential ones, to spiritual ones.
In trying moments like these, I find myself transported back to my toughest, most despairing moments. The ones that tested and stretched me in the most significant ways. My dad’s death in 1999, when I was a new college student, still figuring out who I would be. I was so, so angry at God. Angry and giving up but also on my knees crying out. I find myself back to my grandparents’ passing, four months apart. The trauma of it, and the dull ache of picking up the phone to call them and realizing there was no one to call.
While I remember the sadness of those times, I also remember being held up. Sometimes it was by people or things or experiences that I never would’ve imagined. The uncle who I always thought was kind of a giant butthole…on his knees between me and my dad’s casket looking me in the eye and assuring me that if I ever needed anything he was there.
The amazing friend, now husband, who showed up to my grandparents’ funerals with open arms.
The caller ID that gave my seven-years-buried grandfather’s name every time my mom called me in the months leading up to my son’s birth.
For so many people around the world, this will be one of their worst moments. One thing is certain…we are all held. We’re held and we hold others. Whether it’s our family, our colleagues, students, peers, friends, acquaintances. Whether we’re connected by the internet, a phone call, a letter, a hug, or the Spirit. You may be lonely, angry, stir crazy, hopeless, empty…but you’re held. You’re in someone’s heart and mind and you’re surrounded by love.