by the Ven. Mimsy Jones
Ebet Peeples, Calvary’s Coordinator for Welcome and Community, texted those twelve words to me the day after I confessed to her that I had missed the deadline to turn in my January blog. If you know Ebet at all, or have ever watched her in action, you will understand what I mean when I say that if she were in Pete Buttigieg’s position as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, our infrastructure woes would be over: no more plane delays, no more bridge collapses, no more potholes!
Ebet, God bless her, gets things done: quickly, efficiently, and on time. I hated admitting to her that I had failed to fulfill a simple, 500-word assignment, and I had no idea how she would respond to my confession.
Her quick reply, ‘No worries. We’re all just doing the best we can these days,’ instantly restored my equilibrium. The key word she used was WE: we are all doing the best we can these days. Ebet didn’t write a self-referential reply, like, ‘Poor dear. I understand. I am so busy myself. I hope you catch up soon.’
Instead, she joined me in the swirling river of life that many days feels like it is sweeping me away, physically, mentally, spiritually. By implying that she, too, was just hanging on, doing the best she could, gave me space, breathing room, self-forgiveness. What a gift; one I didn’t know I needed until it was given to me.
A few Sundays ago, our gospel reading was the story of Jesus’ baptism according to Matthew, in which John the Baptist protests that Jesus should be baptizing him instead of the other way around. Without reply, Jesus simply takes his place in line and waits his turn.
Barbara Brown Taylor, one of the fabulous preachers come for Calvary’s 100th Anniversary of the Lenten Preaching Series, opines that Jesus did not have to go into the Jordan River that day. As the Son of God, he could have stood on the shore, offering words of encouragement, extending a hand from his secure position on shore to those struggling out of the water in their wet clothes. The Son of God was without sin; why would he go into the river with sinners and risk being labeled one himself?
“Only Jesus our leader and our Lord did not seem too concerned about that,” Taylor writes. “For Jesus, God’s being with us included being in the river with us, in the flesh with us, in the sorrow of repentance and the joy of new life with us. So what if he did not have anything of his own to be sorry about?” (Home By Another Way, 35)
That is what Ebet’s reply meant to me: that she was caught up in the whirlpool, too, but had the wisdom to know she was not alone.
Welcome to the muddy, roiling river of life, friends. When the waters threaten to undo us, remember that Jesus chose to enter the river with us, as one of us, and is there with us still; in the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
14 thoughts on ““No worries. We’re all just doing the best we can these days.””
In some ways I miss the calm of Pandemic Confinement. I felt like I got out of the eddy and sat on the bank for a while. Thanks, Mimsy. And Ebet.
Thanks for this, Mimsy (and Ebet). At the risk of being egocentric, I needed these thoughts today. We ARE on this ride together and I’m so thankful for my ride mates!
So glad we’re all floating along on this journey together, pulling each other up when we need a breath and a reminder that we are not alone. Thanks for this beautiful reflection and reminder! Sure do love you all!
Thank you Mimsy and Ebet. Both of your words were encouraging. I sometimes get lost along the way but morning prayers and Sunday service gets me back into the big “river float” with my church family!
Thanks Missy and Ebet! Great reminder and so true.
Mimsy, this is particularly helpful today, as I check in with friends and worry about our city. Thank you.
Thank you Mimsy and Ebet. Your words are very timely in a lot of ways. Edwin and I miss our Calvary Church family. Praying for our city.
Wise words from you both.
Oh Thank you Mimsy,
I needed these words and this reminder. Life has been threatening to undo me and just reading today and being reminded I’m not alone really helps me calm down a bit. The process not alone is so much easier to handle. If this is late, remember its perfect timing for me……and I am guessing many more.
Community is one of my favorite words. And Calvary shines in its commitment to community inside her walls and pouring herself out onto the sidewalks of Memphis with arms wide open.
Yaaaaayyy! So glad to know that I’m not the only one at Calvary for whom everything seems to be “getting away” or disappearing from my life.
Daily on my phone I receive “Inspiring Quotes,” and today’s seems so relevant to this discussion: “Vulnerability is like a connector … it connects us to the rest of the world.” It goes on to say that sharing our authentic thoughts and selves, despite fears we may have, draws us closer to other people. Thanks, Mimsy and Ebet, for keeping it real!
Yes! Thank you, Mimsy and Ebet, for your authenticity and grace. You inspire me to pass it on.
Thanks to you both for this meditation and it’s message! I hope to remember to pass this sentiment on to someone else who needs it.