Suzanne is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, writer, and student of contemplative wisdom and prayer. Rev. Stephen is a Presbyterian (USA) pastor serving at Derry Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania. I found their posts on Facebook and am grateful that they gave me permission to reprint them here. The clarity, passion, and mindfulness they both bring to this moment are much needed.
Show the devil the door
by Suzanne Brita Schecker, Treehouse Community, Easthampton, MA
Days of fear, angry men donning assault rifles protest governors’ attempts to keep citizens safe. States are opening stores, nail salons, restaurants and barber shops, too soon according to experts knowledgeable in infectious diseases…People choosing the economy over other people’s loved ones…I’ve heard it said some deaths may be necessary to return to life as we once knew it.
Choices are being made, consumers longing to consume, venture capitalists eager to devour small businesses, corporations on the brink of shrinking to a new reality. The choices are clear…some are clawing at the air, desperately seeking to restore what was, the greed and selfishness, blind destruction of our earth, closets chock full of cheap garments made in China, throwaway toys that make us smile a day or two then land on the junk heap of our empty souls…The American Dream grasping to be better, to have more, to find acceptance in achievement, once honorable and real, lies twisted and ugly, no longer shaped by goodness and morality, turned into a collective hungry ghost…no amount of stuff can satisfy.
There is sadness and fear that we will choose sleep and walk back on the easy road to what we know…fear that the risk of rebooting our lives feels too great, too scary, too unknown. I grieve for the children of the future, for the forests that will burn, the oceans choked with garbage, the animals extinct, the Mother abandoned by her children…I feel the longing to heal, to move forward in love, to live in our connectedness…but we seem frozen…our hearts not yet able to say “enough…”
We are still praying to our false gods, our plastic toys, our addiction to comfort. There may be need for sacrifice, letting go of clinging to thoughts of permanence, if we are to show the devil the door.
We’ll be ready
by Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker, Hershey, PA
We’ll be ready to re-open when bus drivers can tell riders to wear a mask and not get spit upon.
We’ll be ready when McDonalds workers can say the dining room is closed without being shot.
We’ll be ready when park rangers can ask people to social distance without being shoved in a lake.
We’ll be ready store employees can ask people to wear a mask before entering without being killed.
We’ll be ready when we can show we can listen and follow safety guidelines.
I don’t know when the virus will be ready for us to re-open but clearly we are not ready.
Freedom is a responsibility not just an unearned privilege to do as we please.
We are acting like a bunch of spoiled whiny brats who are more than willing to hurt others and put others at risk.
We’ll be ready when we treat each other with love and respect.
We are not ready.