Fear, Faith & Love – Day 3
The Same Lifetime
“…the most useful thought we can hold when all hell cuts loose is that we are not members of different generations, as unlike as some people would have us believe, as Eskimos and Australian aborigines. We are all so close together in time that we should think of ourselves as brothers and sisters. Whenever my children complain to me…, I say, ‘Who do you think I am—Methuselah? You think I like the news of the day any better than you do? You’re wrong.’ We are all experiencing more or less the same lifetime now.”
Those are lines from a college commencement address delivered by the late author Kurt Vonnegut in 1978. He was talking about how, when it comes to things that truly matter, generational divides are a false construct. “We are all experiencing more or less the same lifetime now.” We each experience the news of the day differently, but it impacts us all.
There is a human tendency to compare our circumstances to those around us, for better or worse. In these days of sheltering in place, one says, “Well, I’m way better off than _______. His whole job disappeared.” Another says, “____ can check on her grandparents. My mom is in a nursing home and they won’t let me in to see her.”
For me, whether the comparison is for better or worse, it neither changes my experience of this pandemic nor helps me feel more hopeful. No one likes the news of the day any better than anyone else now. But what helps me move forward within the limitations of these times, is the acknowledgement that “we are all experiencing more or less the same lifetime now.”
Vonnegut was a confirmed atheist. As a believer, this lifetime we are experiencing together calls to mind the words of the Apostle Paul (I Cor 12.26-27), “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. For you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
I am uplifted by the image of us connected to one another as closely as the different parts of the same body (even as we practice physical distance). I am calmed down by the knowledge that we hold one another in prayer. And I am grateful for God’s love as I experience it through our church community.
~ Heidi Peterson
In Roman Catholic liturgy yesterday, March 19, was St. Joseph’s Day – St. Joseph the Worker as he is known.
What is your true work?
~ Carol Ann