Did your mother ever teach you not to walk in the street?
Today’s Reflection from Father Dave
“Did your mother ever teach you not to walk in the street?” “She tried!” So began the conversation yesterday as I trekked to St. Matthias. My mom would tell the story about the time when I was 3 years old and had escaped the house and she discovered me lying in the middle of the street looking up at the sky. I still have the bad habit of walking in the street and not on the sidewalk. When I walk my thoughts drift and I do not always pay attention to the uneven sidewalks or the dips by the driveways, and these sometimes catch me unaware. So I walk in the street. (Please no comment about the possibility of me being unaware of the car bearing down on me. This is not a foolproof plan.)
This conversation started today from someone I see each day as we pass close to the church. Keeping our “social distance,” we exchange short pleasantries in the early morning. I have often walked the neighborhoods as part of my training for my yearly pilgrimages. In the past, when others are about I have noticed a disappointing habit of people not making eye contact or even exchanging greetings. This might be due more to my appearance: heavy backpack, old clothes, and baseball cap shoved down on my head, but things are different now. As I walk and see others, we might walk to the other side of the street (sidewalk for them), but we make eye contact and shout out a greeting, maybe even briefly stopping and yelling across the street some news.
In this time of “social distancing” have we become more aware of our need for one another and more welcoming of the stranger? We distance ourselves physically from one another, but socially we have become closer. Interesting concept this “social distancing.”
I have wondered about our distancing from our spiritual practices and what that has done to us. No longer can we physically meet as a community in prayer. The churches are open more as a reminder of what is missing and now a quiet place to spend time with the Lord. Now more than ever in my life, it feels like people are reaching out and expressing their need for God and the community in their lives. They miss “church” so to speak but have become more of a Church, a people of God during this time. I realize this is not all that clear; it is something I have been trying to understand and grapple with these last few days.
Yes some things do change, but one thing I believe that remains is the love of God for you and me.
In faith, hope, and love…
Your Wandering Padre