Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Day 10, March 23, 2020

Eleven days ago . . . or as those of us who love Star Wars say:

“A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . .”

Haven’t things changed dramatically, and not just in eleven days. As we make our way through the uncertainty of the Coronavirus things change fast every day. Eleven days ago feels like a galaxy that is far, far away. Anyway, eleven days ago was Thursday, March 12, 2020. I had an important engagement on Thursday morning, March 12, 2020. I woke up and was filled with joy as I anticipated my important 10 am appointment with the students of the Early Learning Center at Dunn’s Corners Community Church, Presbyterian. Things do not get more important than meeting with a bright, energetic, enthusiastic, and curious class of students, especially when they are still in the wonder-filled years of preschool.

Judy Nichapor, one of our beloved church members, had arranged for me to have the privilege of reading a story with the children. I walked in as the children were busily working in various learning centers, building, arranging, crafting, exploring, and inquiring. The kind and loving teachers announced my arrival to the students and asked them all to come and sit in their own special places, all the spaces carefully lain out to form a circle. When I sat down and took my place in the circle and saw the bright, smiling faces, I knew it was a circle of friends.

Knowing I was sitting in a circle of friends was perfect, because the story Judy Nichapor had selected for me to read was a story about friendship. But the friendship in the story was a surprising friendship. The book, Tarra & Bella, is a story about two animals that become friends. The animals are an elephant, Tarra, and a dog, Bella. The subtitle of the story of Tarra and Bella says, “The Elephant and Dog who became Best Friends”. We had fun as the story unfolded. Every question I asked was greeted by 20 hands that immediately shot up in the air as the kids all wanted to give their answers. We had a fine time talking about a friendship between an elephant and a dog, certainly a surprising friendship. And then we talked about our own friendships. To say our time together was sweet does not even begin to capture the beautiful moments we shared together talking about friendship.

That truly was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. So much has changed. No children are in school. Our church sits empty while we all practice social isolation. Our world is different. Our world is dramatically different.

But not everything has changed. The importance of friendship has not changed. In fact, friendship is more necessary now than it ever has been. I want to invite you to sit with me today in a circle. I want you to sit with me in a virtual circle. Take your place. Sit down. Cross your legs. Fold your hands. And join with me in a reflection about friendship. Imagine me, sitting with you, in a virtual circle. Hear the question I ask. Think about the question. How would you answer?

This is my question. It is a simple question. When I say the word friend, who comes to mind for you? Whose face do you see? Whose smile shines bright? Whose words whisper in your ear? Whose tenderness warms your heart? Whose kindness touches your soul?

I see you raising your hand! I know you want to shout out your answer. But today instead of giving me your answer, why not do this? Why not let your friend know you are thinking about them. We are isolated in many ways right now. But we still have phones. We can call. We can text. We can email. We can put pen to paper. Amazingly, we can even Facetime and I’m sure there are even numerous other ways we can let a friend know we are thinking of them. And maybe as we let a friend know what they mean to us, we will not feel so isolated after all.

During this time of isolation the Eberlys have spent much time thinking of our many friends. We are grateful for all of you. Each and every one of you has brought a great blessing to our lives. Thank you.

With the love of Christ,