Same Day, Different Shoe

Right shoe? Wrong day. Wrong day? Right shoe. A perk of this weird chapter of shelter at home is not donning my usual “clergy-wear”. The whole slacks, shirt, some kind of sweater deal. It’s been jeans and sweatshirts or denim shirts, AND tennies!!! I have running shoes currently being run in, and I have all those old broken down running shoes that are perfectly comfortable and broken in for days off, and now for days on, too! But then there’s this.

It’s Tuesday morning after Easter. Easter and the day after are big deals – still in the holiday spirit, Jesus is risen indeed and I’m still soaking in the great news. Then there’s Tuesday. Tuesday after Easter and we’re still sheltering at home. Tuesday after Easter and I think I hate every piece of clothing I have, even the fun day off ones. Tuesday after Easter and I want to eat all the ice cream, and all the Chester Cheese corn, and all the peeps I’ve left open in half used packages because yes, I do like them a little dry, tough, and chewy. It’s Tuesday after Easter and I can’t even match the old broken down tennies that I refuse to throw away. Ringo was even checking out my selection this morning when I looked down and realized the two shoes I grabbed didn’t match.

I was listening to the morning news again, that may have been the first questionable choice. The curve is flattening in New York, and for that I’m so very thankful. It seems like kind of a bell-weather for this thing. It’s still so overwhelmingly sad how many lives have been lost there and how much grief must weigh on that city and the healthcare workers and families who are walking through it most directly. And the number of new cases in Kansas went down significantly yesterday. AND, it’s not over. The roller-coaster continues and in the midst of the ride I guess I couldn’t grab the same shoes at the same time. If the cat had been worth anything he’d have gone and retrieved the match and taken the non-matcher back. But instead he wandered away flicking his tail back and forth in judgment at my questionable sanity I think.

I worry about us in the lengthening dusk of this virus. Do I think we can see the end? I think we can see the horizon, I’m not certain saying there is an end in sight is helpful quite yet. We have a number of transitions ahead of us in working together toward a healthy way forward.

Right shoe? Yes, yes it was, but it was still wrong. Wrong day? Perhaps, but it was still the “right” shoe. So much of what we see has to do with the perspective with which we are looking. Pessimist or optimist, the glass is half-full and half-empty at the same time. Both are quantifiably right, but it does not mean we think about it the same way or even think about it the same way on different days! I think recognizing that is vitally important for us as we open our arms to what I hope will be continued good news about falling numbers of diagnoses, falling numbers in icu’s on ventilators, and steeply falling numbers of lost lives. And that can all be true and we still grieve the overwhelming 60,000-70,000 or more very real people with families and friends and years ahead that have been cut-off suddenly from a “novel” virus that is not yet done. Yes, good news, and yes, we have tough days ahead.

That’s the Tuesday after Easter message I think, at least for me most pronounced this year. Jesus was honest, he was faithful, he was speaking the truth all those times he said he would be crucified and then resurrected from the dead. HE IS RISEN, INDEED! AND the Roman Empire is still in place, those seeking to end the “Way” of Jesus are still looking and will find followers to detain, jail, and sometimes kill. Saul who will become the Apostle Paul is yet “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord . . .” Acts 9:1, NRSV. All these things are true all at the same time. The best news ever in all of history for all time, and there are still horrible things happening to those who follow after and live into the message of Jesus. Right shoe? Of course it is. Wrong day? Yes. But it’s still the RIGHT shoe!

And there is where we live – in the middle of a life filled with the joy and celebration of a God for whom death NEVER has the last word, AND the road is still really, really difficult sometimes. And all of that is true all at the same time – and it is the time in which we’re living.

I almost decided to put on the right shoe on the wrong day, partly because I was tired and didn’t really want to walk back in the other room to find the right one – I know, right? (sorry couldn’t resist that *snort). But I have found that if I get up and shower and put on clothes that are semi-matching with socks and paired-up correctly shoes, I feel more human. So I guess you could say I have the right shoe on for the right day,

and the other one is “left” for another day. O.k., O.k., I’ll stop, but I leave you with one question: “Who’s on First”??? *enjoy . . .