Invest in the Common Good.

Rev. Gayle Catinella
Download: Audio icon 00148.mp3

My oldest grandson has started Kindergarten. We have been anticipating this for a while: taking him out to buy scissors and crayons, talking about learning to read as a necessary prelude to becoming a paleontologist, giving tips for riding the bus. Of course, no one knew exactly how school would be until last week, and now we know it is in person. And so I am terrified, even as I deeply respect the hard decisions everyone has had to make.

I called him after his first day. Grandma, he said, there is a huuuuge playground, and we got to go twice to play!!! Twice Grandma!!! As he showed me his dinosaur lunchbox, it was clear that recess will be his favorite class. His innocent excitement warmed my heart. His parents have done a great job managing anxiety and promoting things that are helpful, like wearing a mask and liberal use of sanitizer.

As I come to terms with the pros and cons of in school learning it is clear to me that the only way it will work is if everyone, and I mean everyone, cooperates. If everyone wears a mask, if everyone stays home when they are sick, if everyone washes hands regularly, and all the other precautions. I ask myself how I can be sure that everyone in that school will see my grandson as precious, will see him as I see him—irreplaceable.

But I also have to acknowledge that this pandemic is wearing on me. I am grateful that I no longer have to wash my groceries and I am reasonably assured that take out for supper is OK. I also know that I used to disinfect my house every day and I don’t do that now. I am a relentless mask wearer, but many times I get out of the car and realize half way to my destination that I have forgotten the mask in the car and have to give myself a pep talk to walk back to get it. I am not as careful, not as sharp, even though I know we haven’t even made it out of Phase 1.

So now I have a new focus, and that is my grandson. I use him to remember that everyone is someone’s grandson, that everyone is precious to someone. It motivates me to remember to be cautious, to socially distance, to not take chances with other people’s lives or my own. I have to rely on people in Indiana, where my little guy lives, to protect him. And it is hard for me, really hard, to trust them. And I remember that someone from Indiana, or wherever, is trusting me, counting on my behavior to protect their beloved.

Maybe it is an occupational hazard that I see death a lot, I see illness a lot. I see the devastation of loss on a regular basis. And senseless loss is the worst. It is senseless loss when our loved ones and neighbor’s get sick because someone else couldn’t bother to be careful. We must rely on science. We must be proactive in our precautions. We can’t let our guard down. COVID 19 is real, it is deadly and it has killed 170,000 in our country as of this writing.
You don’t know my grandson. He is amazing. Please wear a mask, practice safety, and invest yourself intentionally in the common good.