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Long Walks

He is not here; He has risen; just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.

Matthew 28:6

Honestly, I'm a Lent dabbler. It's not really a big sacrifice to give up Mountain Dew or Coca Cola, and I knew I wasn't going to starve to death when I decided to forego chocolate. Truth is, I've usually found a way to sneak enough wiggle room into the whole deal that it was really more of an inconvenience and a nuisance, not an act of surrender. For instance, this year I gave up online Sudoku, but that didn't include Solitaire or Scrabble. Oh, the agony!

But, this sheltering in place is another thing altogether. I can't just hop in the truck and ride wherever I want to. No more hanging out at the office, talking to church members and laughing and reliving the events of the week. No Wednesday night supper, no Sunday evening Youth, no "let's meet your parents for dinner, Regina."I've seen precious Hazel twice in person and I have no idea when that will happen again. And my suffering is minuscule compared to others.

I'm discovering that I'm a lot better at talking about sacrifice than I am at actually doing it. After all, I've preached plenty of sermons on taking up crosses and laying down one's life and, most of the time, folks in the pews said they liked them. But I want this to be over NOW!! and I keep hoping and praying for an easy way out of this pandemic mess. The news each day, sadly, dashes those hopes. This isn't going to be a sprint, not for the ill and their families, nor for the heroes on the frontlines in the fight, nor for the people providing essential services, nor for the rest of us who can do little more than stay at home and not add to the problem. It's going to be a long walk, one replete with heartache and longing and, yes, as much as I hate to face it, real sacrifice.

Each day during this long season, I've headed out for at least two long walks around my neighborhood. Sometimes with Regina, other times by myself, these strolls give me the chance to think and pray, or as I like to put it, to cogitate and meditate. They are a respite from the sheltering place, and they are also a reminder that this is indeed a journey, one with many steps before its end.

I walked a little extra this morning because I'm worried about a one week old granddaughter and her mother who is recovering from the trauma of childbirth. And about a veterinarian son still seeing patients because people love their pets. And about the staggering numbers I see in each report, and the loss and grief those numbers represent. And about the people I know, the businesses in my community, the future of my congregation. It was a ponderous morning. Yet another in this long ordeal.

I turned toward home and the tasks of the day, thinking of how the glory of Easter follows the drear of Lent and the horror of Good Friday. Up the drive I trudged and there it was . . .

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