I have learned to be grateful for relatively small things. I’m grateful that I have a community of faith that has struggled to remain together in a new way. The majority are older people and they’ve lost relatives and friends [to COVID-19]. We’re learning new ways of making community.
We meet on Zoom; about 60 percent of our people Zoom off their phones; they can hear us and not see us. One of our challenges is that our population doesn’t have computers. But we don’t want to leave anybody behind. We have church every Sunday; our church has even grown with COVID-19, because people invite their relatives from other parts of the country to call in, so we have church with cousins and grandmas! Of course, it’s not the same as being in the same room together but we are finding those blessings in the midst of chaos. We are learning from change, and I’m grateful for that learning. For the first time we have someone from Korea, a very energetic intern from Harvard Divinity School. He helps us with Bible study. He’s helping us with optimizing technology and using Zoom. He brings a new perspective. The idea that we have a multicultural worship team — that’s new, and I’m grateful for him.
I’m grateful that we have time to absorb the stillness this world has been brought to now. The quiet is scary for us. But as a community we are talking about the benefits of solitude. Of course, loneliness comes with solitude, but solitude gives you the time to reflect and think about what’s important in life, and gives you time to reprioritize your life. We’re learning to be more intentional, to wake up and be grateful and breathe and focus on the simple things that life becomes when you don’t have all the distractions. People are telling me they are grateful they had dinner with their families three times in a row. They’re grateful that their children check in with them more.
Faith matters at times like this. Faith — the ability to believe in something you can’t see — gives us a broader way to look at things. It takes us out of our own little world and gives us a deeper perspective and a way of seeing through the dark. While it doesn’t answer every question, it helps us find meaning in horrible things. I don’t know what people do who don’t have faith to hold on to. It must be very lonely and very frightening.
–As told to Linda Matchan
The Rev. Liz Walker, formerly a news anchor on WBZ-TV, is the pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church. Interviews have been edited and condensed.