Tuesday, July 21 2020
As it happens, I didn't have to wait long: my twin sister and I recently turned 138, though neither of us really shows it. Still, time and experience do mark us, and I have begun to wonder if I'm getting a bit long of tooth--or has the world changed in ways I cannot entirely fathom?
There is something strange in the air these days. Last week someone I know "trolled" me on social media regarding my relying on expert advice about the corona virus. His rudeness took me aback. In the past I'd thought him to be a reasonable and courteous fellow; this was so unlike what I'd seen before I had to wonder what had changed him.
Perhaps it was too much time on the internet, a slippery place with many examples of willful orneriness, placing individual wants over the needs of the community. I understand the value of liberty--I cherish my freedom and the rights of others--but I also love my neighbors.
The media amplifies the divisions in society, but that's distilled for their outlets and doesn't reflect my experience of everyday life; for the most part I see people pulling together, not tearing each other apart. Gratefully I see that spirit here at St. John's, where we foster values of love and service and faith and humility. That shared commitment transcends our differences and contributes to our sense of belonging. It's what makes us so resilient in a time of crisis.
I see those values in action all the time. Just last week I got an email from Karen Bray, letting me know that she and George had tidied up the area around the columbarium in preparation for Hope Duncan's service. And I wonder how many times has Ric Weatherman climbed up the bell tower to get the rope unstuck, or gone up on the roof? Or what of that lively group I encountered in the kitchen late one night last autumn, cooking up a batch of Vestryshire sauce?
Over the years countless challenges have arisen and countless members have said, "I can help with that." The generosity and spirit of goodwill that populates St. John's buoys me up in these challenging times. Sometimes it even gets a smile out of me, which brings me back to my special nickel.
Among other duties I empty the green waste bin in the Sacristy. Shortly before the church closed I happened to find a few non-plant items in the green waste, so I fished them out and taped a note to the bin suggesting that the Altar Guild owed me five cents for the extra work. Then the church closed, my duties changed a bit, and I forgot about my little joke until a couple of weeks ago, when I found a nickel taped to it.
I laughed out loud when I found it, and since then I have deposited it in the bank of goodwill, confident that it will pay ample dividends. Naturally I acknowledged receipt of payment with another note, promising not to spend it all in the same place.