A few weeks ago, my 11 year-old son tested positive for COVID. A few days later, my parents tested positive with breakthrough cases. Ever since the virus emerged in our communities, I was concerned that these three people in particular would become infected. All at once, they were in quarantine, tending to their symptoms. Thankfully, my son’s symptoms remained mild and the nurses who cared for my parents told them that the vaccine had done its job, keeping them out of the hospital and the ICU. The illness was disruptive and scary.
I’m reading a murder mystery that takes place in Door County, WI. A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was whirring, and my ears were ringing. I moved to the guest room to read. A few pages into the book, I came across a phrase that grabbed my attention and has held onto me ever since. That phrase was “grace in a stumbling world,” and it perfectly described my experience of living with COVID.
The world is stumbling along with this virus. The pandemic has disrupted our politics, schools, families, and daily lives. I sometimes get lost in frustration, impatience, and even bitterness when I get hooked on my thoughts and fears.
And…last weekend I experienced grace. My son and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my parents. Symptom-free and completely recovered, the four of us went for a walk on one of our favorite roads called Rural Road. We played an improv game that my son learned at an acting class as we made our way to Emmons Creek. There we touched the cold water and wondered where it came from and where the water was going. My dad told us about a history book he read about the Indigenous people who lived on the land before white settlers moved in. We played cards later that night. During a break between hands, I listened as my son and parents discussed what it was like to have COVID in their bodies. They talked about congestion, feeling chilled with a fever, fatigue, headache, and their gratitude that they did not lose their sense of taste or smell. I noticed a deep sense of love for my family. And I noticed grief for all the suffering that humanity has experienced.
This fall, I experienced “grace in a stumbling world.” Ignatian Spirituality reminds me to savor experiences of grace – like the weekend I shared with my son and parents. Ignatian Spirituality also invites me to trust that God is present in the stumbling. Indeed, God is in all things.
I offer prayers and blessings to you and your loved ones as we all continue to long for “grace in a stumbling world.”