Burgess: What is life?

"What I feel, I can't say
But my love is there for you any time of day
But if it's not love that you need
Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed.”

I am not sure whether George Harrison’s song What is Life was written about a woman or was George’s discernment as to the purpose of this life.  Experts far more steeped in Beatlemania argue that to this day. 

Let’s assume for a moment that Harrison was writing about spiritual discernment.  After all, What is Life was written at time of spiritual searching for Harrison.  The same album that featured My Sweet Lord, Isn’t It a Pity, Hear Me Lord, and All Things Must Pass.

This past half year or so has presented challenges for all.  The pandemic and its related economic crisis adds to all our stress.  

A little more than a year ago, I joined a non-profit board which supports the homeless and seeks to prevent homelessness in my Southwest Michigan county.  Michigan was originally hit hard by the pandemic and the related economic fallout. For months, Michigan was under a governor’s executive order to halt landlord evictions.  That order was lifted in July and evictions have begun apace.  Earlier this week, I learned in our small county, judges have been hearing four eviction cases an hour for weeks now. My non-profit was awarded a federal grant to help stave off some evictions. We just received an advance on these funds a week ago.   The judges, landlords, and our partner non-profits are anxious because we had not helped a month and a half ago when the governor’s ban was first lifted.  We are a cash starved non-profit that does not have the resources to do that.  Our staff is stressed to assist with burgeoning case loads at the same time comply with federal grant requirements.

My Sweet Lord, it is a mess. But for those already evicted or at risk of eviction, the stress must be nearly Job like.

In my personal life, my wife and I, who are guardians for our grandson, recently had to make a decision as to whether he would return to in-person school after being out since March or continue his education virtually.  Michigan seems to have done a better job than some states at tamping down the pandemic, so our decision for now has been for him to return to in-person instruction.  He needs the socialization and classroom teacher’s attention.  Many of you have probably had to make similar stressed filled decisions.  My Sweet Lord, I pray that we have made the correct one.  

While we can wear masks, social distance, and wash our hands frequently, the pandemic has magnified the things in life that are out of our control.   Growing up, my father had a simple prayer posted on his bedroom wall.  I think it grounded Dad.  Maybe it will help us too:

God grant me the Serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

My Sweet Lord, grant each of you those things this day.

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