The view, this morning, from my dining room window.
“For now I see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face” 1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV
That phrase from First Corinthians popped into my head this morning while I was thinking about being closed up inside these past weeks in order to be “safe.”
I guess being raised Baptist has its advantages, though often I don’t recognize them. I was pretty good at Bible drill back in the day, before I left the church during the Civil Rights Movement because Baptist congregations in Richmond decided that “colored people” preferred their own church and chose not to open their doors to “the little children, red and yellow, black and white” that Jesus supposedly loved.
But I’m talking about looking out of windows and doors right now. This morning it’s a thrill to have sunlight after a few dreary days. That’s why I was standing at the window. And I could see through the glass “brightly,” not “darkly.”
Of course Paul is referring in his letter to the Corinthians about faith, not being able to understand the mystery of afterlife.
Staying inside is an act of faith, too, I suppose, but I’ve been considering it as a matter of survival. My faith that others will do the same has been sorely challenged, especially by the so-called leader of Liberty University inviting students back to campus, then offering them a thousand-dollar bounty to leave. That kind of movement endangers us all. But I haven’t seen or heard any parties in my neighborhood. We’ve been a quiet lot of people who come and go as needed. We’re taking care of ourselves so we can take care of others.
Being inside with my husband John has not been difficult for us. He’s an artist and able to go to his studio blocks away without interacting with another soul. As a writer I’ve cherished the opportunity to revise work-in-progress and clear my head for new poems and stories. I’ve completed the census online, applied for absentee ballots, and video-conferenced with my doctor.
And the warm weather has enabled us to work outside in our large back yard together while our two Standard Poodles, The Drifter and Jackie Oh, ramble. Having a glass of wine on the deck is private and lovely, cherished moments.
There’s spring cleaning to undertake, windows to be washed, bills that can all be paid online. We’re fortunate and grateful and know it. I see through our windows a brightness and feel an optimism. All our children and grandchildren are safe for the moment. Our older daughter is undergoing chemotherapy, but her doctors are brilliant and encouraging and she’s staying inside otherwise while her fiancée attends to those matters “in the world” that are essential and unavoidable.
Still there is darkness. One of our favorite singer/songwriters, John Prine, has become ill with the virus. Other artists, like Ellis Marsalis, have succumbed. None of us can answer the WHY of this, the great mystery. I’m among those who gets dander up over the slow response of the current administration. I am certain it has cost lives and jeopardized our medical systems in ways that could have been avoided.
But there is incredible brightness, too: Companies volunteering to make medical equipment, families posting songs and skits online, museums making their collections “virtually” available, neighbors taking supplies to “shut-ins” (that’s the word we used at Northminster Baptist Church back in the day). My 96-year-old mother’s caretaker Cheryl still tends her. Books and poems and movies sustain us.
So I choose to see through my glass brightly. Iris Dement put it aptly: “Let the mystery be.”