“Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.”
- Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
Argentina is still in quarantine but more stores are open and the biggest thing for Pilar and I has been that now kids are allowed to leave the house to get groceries with a parent if there is no one to watch them at home. They can also go out for an hour on weekends just to walk around. This has been huge for us. The first couple of days Pilar just kept saying how “cute” everything was- from a really plane grey building, to dogs, to the trees on the sidewalk. She was excited to see everything.
The church here continues to encourage one another through the restrictions we have. Many have mentioned how much it meant to get a call (not a text) from someone in the church to see how they were doing. The ladies continue to meet on Zoom about four days a week to spend time with each other. A kids Bible class has started up (also on Zoom) every two weeks and many are involved in doing it really well. On Wednesday nights the church meets and for the last few weeks different people have been sharing a passage from the Bible that has helped them during this time. Collections of money and food have been gathered to help those who are having a harder time. All these things have helped us stay encouraged and connected to God.
I have felt the distance (as I’m sure most are feeling) not just with people but with God too. It’s amazing how our closeness to others in the body of Christ brings us closer to Christ himself. I’m so thankful for those who reach out, for technology, and the Holy Spirit who has been presence of comfort and nearness. I also can’t wait for us to be able to meet again in person. I pray we as a church learn to appreciate being together more and to see Christ in the people we spend time with.
Pilar celebrated her seventh birthday and five people from church (one a girl who is Pilar’s age) broke quarantine and came over so that she wouldn’t feel isolated. I hadn’t told Pilar they were coming, since it wasn’t a sure thing that they could, so she was very surprised. We both loved the hours we all had together and felt renewed.
I’m going to open and close this post with quotes that have been good for me to meditate on this month.
( speaking of what people think of when they think of Christianity)
“ ...many will probably say: the commandments, Sunday mass, the sacraments.
Someone will go deeper: Christianity means accepting God in one's life. Or go even further, basing our entire existence on God. In this way, they will believe that they have passed the exam.
But God is not so sure that we are able to bear it. He subjects us to a preliminary test. Above all, he asks us if we are capable of accepting man.
Only he who is able to "bear" man will be prepared to "bear" God.
Only he who does not suffer vertigo before man will not suffer vertigo when he is elevated to the divine peaks. Yes. To the believer the Lord proposes his word, his love, his law, his life. But, above all, it gives you the man.
Some Christians still live in a dangerous mistake. They are convinced that they have launched into the conquest of God. And they don't realize that they have gone off the path. They have made everything wrong, because they have made the first step wrong. They have "skipped" the man.
And when the "man-proposal" is not accepted, the entire religious life becomes a tragic illusion…
Jesus is not gone. He has stayed down here. He has simply been hidden. He has disguised himself by adopting an ordinary appearance. The real danger for the Christian is then that of "distraction." In our confessions we accuse ourselves of "distractions in prayer." And we don't think about distractions along the way. Yet how many times do we stumble upon Christ without realizing it! We do not recognize it.
He has the disadvantage of having a face too "known." The face of the poor, of the child, from the co-worker, from the cook, the rascal who sleeps under the bridge, the unemployed worker, of the husband, from the wife, from the superior, cleaning woman, from the stranger, of the sick, of the poorly dressed person, of the prisoner.
And we, who know those faces, do not know how to recognize it.
And he (Christ) continues in exile. In his own house!”
- Alessandro Pronzato, Evangelios Molestosos (this book is one we are reading in a Christian book club that I attend. It also has been an encouragement as people share their thoughts and perspectives. )