Words of the Week: July 28, 2020

July 26, 2020

We are in this together

The following passage was written by Texas Children’s Chaplain James Denham.

It’s hard for me to describe just how unwieldy the pandemic is and what we are having to do to navigate. But, really I don’t need to describe it because you know it all too well. We all feel like we are doing things on the fly, responding immediately to immediate changes and crises.  Normally, this isn’t an issue.  But for four months now, we have been uniquely challenged to respond, react, understand, build, rebuild, adjust, rework, add, decrease, distance, rewrite, and then just breathe, all on the fly.  It is a constant challenge.  It’s hard to wrap our minds around what we are doing and what the next step is. I get it, and I feel it too.

Last year, my friend texted me a picture of a sculpture from a place he visited. When I look at the image today, I see there are three people, building what looks like a bike wheel! The outer circle well on its way to being complete, but the inner spokes are curved, bent, unfinished, and being straightened and organized.  The key is, the wheel is still rolling! The visual is stunning. It speaks to me, and I hope you feel like it connects with you too.

Texas Children’s’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and your personal response to the event are building, growing and changing with each passing day. It’s easy to feel like it is too much or that it is too hard at times.  It seems we go around and around and that we are stuck just holding on.  But it is not too hard or too impossible because ultimately we are responding together.  We rely on each other when the wheel keeps spinning.  We build what we can when we can, and reassess each and every time, knowing we are doing it together.  Perhaps we are building the wheel as it is rolling by wearing masks in public, making each other laugh, sharing encouragement, giving quality (albeit socially distanced) time to that person we pass in the hall we haven’t seen in a while.  Build what you can when you can.

Just as importantly, when you imagine the picture of the bicycle wheel, I hope it is a reminder that we must be understanding with each other and ourselves.  It is hard to do what we are all doing, and sometimes, one cannot build perfect spokes while it is still moving, or complete the spokes in one cycle around.  Remind yourself that what you, and we, are doing is hard and difficult, but that your efforts, your part, your holding on is worthwhile.  In fact, it is extraordinary!  Then take a deep breath and take the next step on this journey.

May you find peace in this chaotic time, and may you find gentleness with yourself as you are building on the move.