One-Half Million

Last Sunday, toward the end of my sermon, I said that President Biden is no knight in shining armor. But he shone bright this past week with the most pastoral speech I have heard from an American president in my lifetime.

I had turned on the radio mid-afternoon when he had just begun to speak; I could tell it was live coverage. I sat at the kitchen table, and noted my tissues had gone missing. Uh-oh. As the occasion for the speech sunk in, I began to weep and didn’t stop for awhile.

I’ve held it together emotionally for the victims of Covid I didn’t personally know. Maybe you have, too. Tears must be saved for those we know well who have lost, and certainly for those we do lose. That’s my thinking to help cope.

The deaths closest to me in the past year have not been from Covid, or even related, but there were deaths. As I grow older, I know deaths will become a more frequent part of life. And so I try to save my tears for those, too.

But I wish I could personally say to President Biden, “thank you for giving me a moment to mourn the gravity of 500,000 of our fellow citizens and residents to Covid, even as I don’t know a single one of them. I needed that, to bring me in touch with my humanity. To surrender to and acknowledge this unfathomable loss.”

It’s been our three biggest wars compressed into less than a year, in terms of loss. It is similar to how I don’t know those soldiers either. But they fought for us. They were part of us. They gave of their blood, sweat, and tears in and for this country, whether as neighbors or protectors. I am grateful for all they gave and deeply saddened at their loss.

So as not to be a total downer, here’s a change of topic. I am very excited about the church garden work party this Saturday! I heard the last one was so rad and fun and I don’t want to miss this one. I’m bringing my son and we’ll take our marching orders. It’s 9 AM – 1 PM and here’s the focus of the work, from our member Jeanne McConnell who has been such a stalwart guardian of the garden for so many years:

“We will be working on planting new vegetables and some seeds around the grounds for native plants – mostly butterfly and bee attracters. And finally we will be working on our third Hugulkultur bed. As you may recall we will have to remove the dirt from the bed, place logs and other organic material in the bed, replace the soil and water deeply. The logs and organic material mimic woodland composting, supply lots of nutrients, sequester carbon and help to retain water.”

It is a good time of year to put fecund soil in our hands, reminding us that life springs forth from death, from this “organic material,” in continual cycles. That, also, we are in the living part of the cycle, and to be grateful for this great gift – in honor of all those we have lost.

Enjoy Michael Eselun in the pulpit this Sunday. He’s the best!

Rev. Hannah