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I went into town yesterday. I delivered my fanciful handmade soaps to Seaman’s Market, drove through the drive-through at the bank, and then pulled over into an empty parking spot uptown, to choke back tears and call an understanding friend.

I looked at the stretch of Court St. that I have loved and lingered on since 1997, when we were first dropped off by our hitch-hiking ride, who promised us that we would “love this town”. They were right. Immediately, it felt like home… at least as much as any town on this earth could. For 23 years, we have LOVED this town.

This year, this historic 2020, I want to weep. This town that has felt like home, feels like I am walking into a place I used to live, but strangers now sleep in our bed and eat at our table. It has been redecorated with masks and fear. It used to be decorated with random hugs, brilliant smiles, and high-fives to strangers. It used to be the type of place where you couldn’t tell strangers from friend, because everyone treated everyone else like family. Now, we treat dear companions as enemies, because they don’t respond to the fear like we do, or our fears differ from their’s.

At this moment in time, when I ought to be preparing for the Nelsonville Music Festival, I am wondering if we will ever dance together again. I am wondering if we will ever overcome the crippling fear, the judgments against one another for responding differently, and if we will ever hug each other again.

So, I swing on my back porch, which feels like one of the only safe places on earth right now, and I pray… because my fear of communism and division, of masks and the slaughter of the Constitution, is just as unholy as everyone else’s fear of a virus.

All our fears have one good resting place, and that is at the feet of Jesus. Unholy fear can only be conquered with Holy Fear. It cannot be eradicated from the soul by human strength, but must be replaced with the knowledge that God is far greater than all the threats looming against us. So I swing. And I pray. And I remember. My God, who shut the mouths of lions and conquered kings with the help of a few brave men, can easily restore what is beautiful about this free land… and can easily keep it free. Amen and Hallelujah!

Space 5/15/20 a.d.

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