And the whole day – whether I was watching the TV or outside, I felt like I was in the family room at my neighbor’s house across the street from my childhood home in Wisconsin. That’s where I watched a number of races as a child. I didn’t care about the race, but they did, and it was fun to be around them while they cared about something I didn’t understand.
I sent my former neighbors a text saying just about that. The reply came back, “Wow – I forgot about it. We’re outside. But in other, sadder, news, my father-in-law died yesterday.” Woah. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t reached out to ask about this silly race. And now I know. And I know that my childhood friend is grieving the death of his father-in-law, and I care.
I guess my point is this: the disconnection that we feel from one another is real. This pandemic is difficult, and it’s not going away as quickly as I had hoped. Back when it started, none of us could have imagined that the Indy 500 would run without fans, but here we are. We couldn’t imagine that we’d “still” be worshiping online, but here we are. And I couldn’t imagine that it would take a pandemic and the Indy 500 to reinforce a spiritual value that I hold: that being connected matters. Caring about something simply because someone you love cares about it DOES make a difference. I don’t have to love the Indy 500, but caring about it because my friend and her family love it changes me a little bit… for the better, I think.
This morning I was hoping to see a photo or two of Mike with his team, and I did – all smiles. But I also woke up to the news of another police-involved shooting, this one in my home state of Wisconsin. Suddenly, my joy at the connection to the Indy 500 melted away. It was quickly eclipsed by my sadness, anger, dismay, bewilderment at yet another shooting. I don’t have all the details, and I don’t know if I/we ever will, but I care, and I guess that’s why I’m ending my meditation with this: we can choose to start caring for others, or we can just keep going around in circles.