One day, after I completed my morning meditation, my thoughts flew to people suffering around the world, and my heart broke open. Suddenly, into my mind came a person whom I often struggle to include among the beings I cherish in my daily prayers. To my great surprise, I did not turn away. My heart did not shut this person out. I felt great compassion, and this prayer welled up in my heart, “May they be happy, may they be at peace.” Not for one moment did I wish to take it back, nor did I feel pride. I simply felt loving-kindness and compassion overwhelming me. I felt such joy that I wished everyone could have the opportunity to pray this prayer, “May they be happy, may they be at peace.”
This pandemic time finds us all in the deep, dark woods, looking for that stream of grace. Yet this stream is trickling right beside each of us in every moment. Grace appears as a neighbor dropping off some fresh vegetables with a post-it note saying, “these are virus-free.” Grace appears as friends in cars, driving by, honking loudly, to wish you a happy birthday, or to celebrate a high-school graduate. Grace appears as a woman offering free masks at the post office, it is senior hours at the local store, and it is you at the sink, washing your hands to protect your household. This pandemic is a call to love that I believe we are answering. As we come near the possibility of relaxed restrictions of the SIP order, let’s stop for a moment and ask again: What is most important to me? How can I love more?