But if we reach down into the bottom corner of the pocket in that heavy sweater maybe we can find a small thread of grace.
Grace for the alcoholic whose meetings are cancelled and because he’s older and on a limited income, doesn’t have a computer or internet to participate in the online check-ins with his sponsor. And for who the stress of being home all day is exacerbating the risk of falling off the wagon without a short chat with a couple of his fellow addicts in a quiet place.
Grace for the single mom struggling with food insecurity and has a quiet agreement with an overwhelmed farmer with kids at home during planting season who needs her house cleaned in exchange for some vegetables and seedlings.
Grace for the co-parenting father with his young kids in the grocery store, who has no one to leave them home with.
Grace for the cashier who forgets to sanitize the counter between customers because her mind is on the lost income of her partner who is home struggling with depression and needs support they can’t afford or access.
Grace for the wife living with an abusive partner for whom that trip to the grocery store is her only real freedom during a time of quarantine and lost income. Grace for her spending too much time perusing the flower section, seemingly in no rush to leave. Grace for her feeling, guiltily, like a hospital stay might be a welcome alternative to the life waiting for her at home.
Grace for all those who are doing their best with what they know. Guilt-inducing social media posts about the carelessness and ignorance of folks who don’t stay home, who take too long in the stores, who take their kids with them, who don’t achieve appropriate social distancing, who simply don’t do what seems so black and white to you, in your heavy sweater of privilege and fear.
So maybe instead of sharing yet one more opinion on the failures of others or calling the telephone reporting line on a stranger, choose to tug on that small thread, unravel that heavy, fearsome sweater, let it fall away and slowly knit back together a lovely, cozy comforting blanket of humanity, empathy and most importantly, grace.