Abounding Grace

by Janet Willis

The world is a much different place than it was when this new year began. Social Distancing and shelter-in-place are two phrases we now hear every day. We’ve never dealt with such an event that has affected the world. While this isn’t something any one of us would have wished for, it has been heartening to see people come together on such a large scale.

Here in Owensboro, there is a catering business offering free meals for seniors. The owner, running this program solely on donations, takes orders and delivers each Friday. I sent a donation last week and asked for one meal to be delivered to my mom. She received a grilled chicken salad and also a baked chicken and broccoli meal. There is a Facebook group created by a local doctor for members to post their needs or offers of help. The moment a need is posted, there are responses offering help. Often there are requests for masks, and within seconds, the need is fulfilled. People are sewing masks by the hundreds. I didn’t realize how many nowadays could sew. I suppose I have considered it a lost art.

Some of you may have heard Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, talk about disasters. He said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

To me, being able to find comfort in the helpers couldn’t be more true today. What a beautiful sight to see when people are coming together and sharing their grace with others. Typically we see this on a more regional level. We see it after tornados and hurricanes, or even during the terrorist attacks on 9-11. Never have we witnessed this on such a national level—a global level.

Since March, this pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect on God’s graces. His graces have always been here, but now they have become more clear. On Facebook, I have seen so many friends posting pictures of eggs in nests and newly hatched robins, that they never took time to notice. Some are even befriending squirrels, as they feed them in the backyard. There is new- found joy when flowers bloom. On Easter Sunday, although the family gatherings didn’t happen, people reflected on how special past Easters were to them, in a way they never had before. The same can be said for Mass. We have found a greater appreciation for our church community now that we can’t attend. We are separated, but now it seems we are more united than ever.

Our Glenmary Sisters’ office, Mother House, and missions are functioning much differently, as well. It’s odd seeing the front of the office with a welcome sign and a sign on the door informing people it’s closed to the public. But, we can just glance towards the chapel window at the Mother House and see His grace blooming in the dogwood tree. We don’t get to visit with the Sisters like before, but we know Sr. Rosemary is still enjoying her reading, Sr. Bernadette can be found working Sudoku and Circle-A-Word puzzles, and Sr. Kathleen can rarely be found sitting down. Of course, we can’t forget Sr. Darlene and her dog, Izzie. Sr. Darlene has plenty to keep her busy (everyone from the office makes sure of that) and Izzie is enjoying all this extra time with her and longer walks.

Although the future is unknown as we learn how to live our new normal, one thing will never change—His grace and love for us.

Let’s all pray for each other during this very trying time. Pray for safety, good health, and the ability to always bring forth the best that’s in each of us!