Skip to main content

The Need for Collective Mourning

I am profoundly grateful to the New York Times for their Sunday, May 24 front page. Under a headline reading, "U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS," they listed the names of 1,000 of those individuals who have died of covid-19, with the age, where they lived, and a detail about them. Maestro of a steel-pan band. Rocket engineer. Taught her girls sheepshead and canasta. 

One of my clearest memories of 9-11 was watching on tv, the family members running from camera to camera, holding up pictures of their loved ones, pleading that someone look at the picture, and tell them the person was alive. I sobbed, over and over, and finally had to turn the tv off for a while. I remember, clearly, saying, "I just can't cry anymore."

It was right that we cried then, and right that we should cry now. This is a devastating loss of life. It is unnatural and inhuman to ignore the death toll, to not be affected. We should be weeping and burning candles. We should be promising the grieving families that we will try to be of comfort to them in some way, even if it is only to give them the knowledge that they are not crying alone.

I'm grateful to our local paper here, the Hill Country News. Whenever a blurb comes through their social media feed about another death in the county, the paper always expresses condolences for the family. Why aren't we seeing that same empathy from our elected leaders?

Those numbers we see are made up of real people. And their deaths diminish us. "Each is a piece of the continent. A part of the main."

Our country is the lesser for their deaths. America has less music, less laughter, less richness because of their absence. What is worse than grief is to ignore the grief that we rightly should feel for this loss.

We are about to hit 100.000 confirmed covid-19 deaths. And I will begin wearing a black armband. For I am in mourning.


Popular posts from this blog

Whole Church Worship

TL;dr -- Our church does "Whole Church Worship," or "All Ages Are Together for the Whole Service, Every Service, Every Week." I've been getting a lot of questions about this. Here are some answers. Preface: For some reason, I occasionally run into people from other churches who want to explain to me all the reasons this won't work at their church. Sure. I'm not trying to talk you into this. You do you, Bub. Whole Church Worship is working at our church, at this time. Live Oak is pretty special, and I don't know that there are many things we do that would work any other place, including our Chili, Chocolate, and Karaoke Party. But that's a post for another day.  Okay, then. So, I first got involved in Whole Church Worship as a result of a fit of pique - my own. This was before I was a minister. At my home congregation, we had "Children's Chapel," and we had reached the point where we couldn't get anyone signed up to coordin

Post-Pandemic and the Expectations of Others

  We have the hope that the covid-19 pandemic's end is in sight ... and it's bringing up a lot of feelings. Not all of them happy .  Many of us are feeling some level of anticipatory anxiety.  The anxiety is rooted in a fear that almost all of us have, in some form or another. The fear that others will make us do something we don't want to do. Whether it is through what can feel like the aggression of "your job depends on this," or the polite friendliness of social obligations, we pre-emptively worry about being dominated.  Look, the pandemic made saying "No" to in-person events super easy. So easy, in fact, that we didn't even have to say no, because no invitations were forthcoming. We didn't have to send regrets, we were all living in a world where responsible people didn't get together. Heck, those of us who before might feel we were being antisocial could now feel self-righteous! A win/win!  I kid, but only a little.  We anticipate that p

"I Don't Know Who I Am Now" or The Importance of Not Assuming for a While

The next 5 months are probably going to be kinda weird. Uncertainty and anxiety flying all over the place. Duck! And then after that ... it's also going to be kinda weird, but a different kind of weird, as we move into the After Times, and figure out what exactly they're going to be like, and what exactly WE are going to be like.  It is in times like these, that I like to turn to art to help make sense of it all.  I refer, of course, to the art known as the television series Doctor Who. I mean, if we know things are going to be weird, we probably should look at some art that deals with the weird, right? Now's the time to examine Hieronymous Bosch and Marc Chagall. And Doctor Who, that time-traveling, face-shifting hero.  Part of the Doctor Who story (and why it's been able to keep going so long) is that rather than die, the Doctor regenerates, retaining who they are, but with a different face, body, and to a certain extent, a different personality.  Immediately after t