written by Scott Sanders
I woke up happy this morning. And energized. Sunday morning, Saturday morning, the same.
The happiness and the energy both come as a surprise. Why am I feeling good given all that’s swirling around me, swirling around us?
I’ve certainly had my share of dread and fear in the past week. Like those around me, I’m worried by what this pandemic could mean for myself, for those close to me, and for those I’ll never know. What will be lost? What will survive? So much is unknown.
And yet, so much is known.
The sun warming my face and bones brings comfort — much like the dog at my feet.
A tidied-up house gives me satisfaction. The calming scent of a candle burning makes for a better work environment.
My pantry is stocked, my family is safe, the daily company in my house keeps me smiling.
Seeing my colleagues faces pop up on our first-ever video chat after several days of separation gladdens my heart. The good humor of those colleagues in the face of adversity makes the days brighter.
The work of preparing from afar for a webcast-only Sunday service of Holy Eucharist keeps my mind engaged and less focused on every development in the news.
Realizing what is in my control and letting go of what is not is as much of a challenge as it’s always been. I felt that lack of control profoundly on Sunday morning watching the Cathedral’s service online with thousands of others. If anything went amiss, there would be nothing I could do about it from my dining room table.
But in that time I also knew there was something I could do. I could participate. Sing the hymns, say the prayers, listen to the words spoken.
Like others watching, I imagine, I had a lump in my throat as the organ sang the first chords of Come thou fount of every blessing. That beloved old hymn was the beginning of a 75-minute virtual hug. The service spoke powerfully to what I have felt so deeply these past days: love rises to the top when we let it.
While I did not expect love to be the overriding emotion this past week, surely enough it was. Love for myself, love for those close to me, love for those I’ll never know but hope will be well. Just as strongly, I felt loved. Loved by those I see and speak to. Loved by a God of Grace.
I’m trying to steel myself for more uncertainty and scary days ahead. Surely they, too, will come. In those moments when fear or anxiety overtake love, I will close my eyes and still my heart and do my best to conjure the soothing power of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s lone, strong voice singing “Yes, yes. Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.”
Scott Sanders is a staff verger at Washington National Cathedral following a career working in non-profit organizations with a focus on HIV/AIDS, end-of-life care, and homelessness. A child of the Methodist Church, he was confirmed at the Cathedral in 2014 after a decades-long search for a faith community that spoke to his heart and embraced the LGBTQ community.