What do you say when the world is falling apart?
Do you send it a nice card? Tell it to hold its chin up? Everything will be okay?
Do you wrap an arm around it and stare off into space as you spin around the sun together? Do you say, “Look, at least you’re not Pluto.”
What do you do when the world is falling apart?
Do you momentarily glance up from your violin, shrug under the weight of your apathy, and bring the bow back down across the strings?
Do you weep? Do you laugh? Do you race to the cupboards for the cosmic glue?
What do you hear when the world is falling apart?
Weeping in the streets? Shouting? Jeering? “Nothing to see here!”
Coughing? Gasping? “He started it!”
What on earth, who on earth are we to be when the world is falling apart?
A healer? A sympathizer? A shoulder to cry on?
A know-it-all? Someone who has it all figured out?
An anthropomorphic King James Bible? The captain of the Bible drill team? A crusader of truth?
What, even, is truth when the world is falling apart?
For every question, there are 30 more, and under every layer, it seems, there are 100 more waiting to be uncovered. The spinning and the endless wondering seems to lead me to a place of asking “this can’t be what God imagined, could it?”
This wonderful planet full of wonderful people, who have been known to break but have also equally been known to mend- none of this seems right. We have the wrong script on opening night. We’re not in the right costumes. We’re reading Hamlet when what we actually rehearsed was The Importance of Being Earnest.
How did we get here? And perhaps more pressing, how do we go forward? Who has the cosmic glue? What would Christ have us be in this moment? Who would Christ have us be?
In the face of a beloved community that decided to sell its soul at lunch on the first day of school to brutal individualism: where do we go from here? When we cannot access the cup and the bread, the hands and the faces, the songs and the organs, where on this broken earth do we go?
Perhaps the lesson to be learned (for me, anyway; I will not force you into this, too) is one that requires us to stop: stop our ambivalence, our selfishness, our manic-ness, our “must-fix-it-ness” and to first, take a deep breath. After we have accomplished that task, maybe the second step is simply to make a good choice: a choice full of wisdom and compassion, a choice that drips with empathy and goodwill.
Spoiler alert: I have no specifics as to what that good choice looks like, other than wear a mask and please stay 6 feet away from each other, but the invitation when the world is falling apart is not “how do we stop this from happening;” rather, it appears to be “how to we care for each other while this is happening.”
That seems to be the call of Christ. Make the good, wise, and loving next choice. Do so with kindness, compassion, and self-sacrifice. If you do so for your neighbor, you are doing so for God, and maybe that is truly the best thing to do when the world is falling apart.