St. Alban’s blog is characterized as “the daily cup of good news from the St. Alban’s café.” It is sort of our spiritual Starbucks—a place we visit in the company of likewise needy people to help us get through the day.
And we are in desperate need of some good news. I don’t need to reiterate all the bad news that has been smothering our spirit, and some individual turmoil may be adding to our collective sadness and confusion. At times, I’ve wished that Mr. Rogers would appear on my doorstep to gently reassure me, to help me find some joy.
Six weeks ago, in an ICU bed and pretty scared, I was bombarded with a cacophony of buzzers, beeps and alarms, with the occasional crying-out from other very sick patients. Many of us are familiar with those noises that often portend a crisis. It was a hard environment in which to feel calm or the slightest bit hopeful.
After a couple days, I became aware of a different, sporadic sound, almost like chimes and definitely not very ICU-ish. So I asked my nurse, who smiled and said, “It means that a baby was just born in the hospital.”
I cried in gratitude that God’s amazing creation goes on, that new life happens, that joy was blossoming not far from where we sick people lay, and good news can be so nearby. Every time I heard that sound, I gave prayerful thanks (and cried again). It was just a sound—such a little thing—but for me it was tidings of joy and a reminder that sharing good news is what I can do, too.
Fact: You and I are pregnant with joy in a world of pain and sorrow. Jesus, in his final discourse on loving, tells us he loves us “so that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete.” We’ve been given what we need, and we must share it. And if we can’t feel it at times, then we put ourselves in a place where we can catch it from someone else. Like church.
The wise Anne Lamott writes of these sad times: “We must respond with a show of force, equal to the violence and tragedies, with love force. Mercy force. Un-negotiated compassion force. Crazy caregiving.”
Let’s let loose the good news within us. It may just be the sound of your voice, much like that hospital chime, that lifts another’s heart. An embrace. Dropping by with tea. “I’ve missed you, let’s go out for a beer.” It could be a long-delayed forgiveness or a radical act of caring. But it’s all good news in a sorry world, so let’s share more than a cup of it. Right now.