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Coming Out on the Other Side

I feel like the end is coming.

I'm just not sure what it's the end of.

We were starting to see the end of the shutdown. I was going to go to the vet's office on Friday and walk in. Nope. I have to call from the car when I get there and wait to be brought in.

I was starting to see the end of my to-do list. But then I signed up for several on-line classes, and I decided to learn some new computer programs. My to-do list just keeps growing.

I was starting to see the end of my quarantine stitching project. Then I saw how much stitching was involved in one section, and realized it was going to take at least two more weeks than I initially thought. Then I ran out of thread, and the only places to get it are Australia and England.

We were starting to see a calming-down of the protests to open up the economy and were faced with even larger protests and riots.

I don't always understand protests and marches and rallies. They never seem well-defined. It's one thing to gather with signs urging the end of the shelter-at-home policies and allowing stores to open up again. It' s another thing to do it armed with rifles and standing in the balcony overlooking the state legislature as they do their work. It's one thing to have a sign saying let me open up my business again. It's a very different thing to have a sign that says Work is Freedom. Words and history matter.

I understood the protests against the actions of the police in Minneapolis, and Louisville, and countless other cities. After the discussion in Sunday's Adult Forum, I can begin to connect the lines between peacefully protesting and vandalism. Segments of our society are asked to be patient, to let the system work. Yet the system blocks them from participating in segments of society, and the response is to lash out at the things that are inaccessible.

But the fighting between police and protesters, and the looting for the sake of looting seem more like the end of something.

Maybe it's the end of taking "essential workers" for granted, and finally beginning to pay them their worth.

Maybe it's the end of thinking that people in authority should not be challenged.

Maybe it's the end of using religion to push political agendas.

Maybe it's the end of life as we have known it: hugging in church, going to concerts. What will happen to Black Friday crowds?

It's always the end of something.

Easter is the greatest example of that. The ending of Jesus' time on earth lead to new life for all God's people. It led to a new church, whose birth we celebrated on Pentecost Sunday.

Sometimes we feel the end is near. Sometimes we feel the beginning has just started. We are in the valley of Lent as we watch fighting in our cities, division among our people, and the destruction of things dear to us.

But on the side of every valley is a hill to climb, and new paths to follow.

I'm ready to climb out of the valley.

- Ann Iona Warner


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