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Surviving Life’s Unfairness

Published: April 10, 2020


On a rare Sunday in early March, El Paso Monthly Meeting was as we wish it could always be, a full house for meeting.

But, alas, we are now on hiatus, with regular activities suspended because of the stay-at-home orders necessitated by a quickly spreading pandemic. We have all put life-as-we-knew-it on hold and are using our ingenuity as we launch into implementing Plan B in the various phases of our lives.

Meeting clerks are talking about how to hold an abbreviated New Mexico Regional Meeting by Zoom. Intermountain Yearly Meeting is doing the same. The Friends General Conference gathering has also been suspended.

The lesson from all this? Well, one of them is that we are not invincible! Southern Colorado, all of New Mexico, and Far West Texas are usually immune to the vicissitudes of floods, famines, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, but disease? Ah, here is our vulnerability. So how are we coping with being housebound for our own safety?

One couple from our El Paso Meeting is taking three walks a day! My husband, Rich, is still happily baking bread, and we are all reading.

This morning I pulled out Rabbi Harold S. Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People, published in 1980. I read it in 1983, the summer my mom was dying of cancer, and I needed a book to get me through that. Kushner wrote the book to reconcile himself to the premature death of his son, and he came to the conclusion that God was not responsible for his son’s progeria, an early-aging disease. The conclusion he came to was this:

. . . No one ever promised us a life free from pain and disappointment. The most anyone promised us was that we would not be alone in our pain, and that we would be able to draw upon a source outside ourselves for the strength and courage we would need to survive life’s tragedies and life’s unfairness.

Harold S. Kushner, 1935

With that thought, I’ll leave you. But let me know what you are doing to get through this very strange time. – what you’re getting done in terms of your “when I have time” list; what you’re reading, how you are filling your days!

My email is: vgvancleef-AT-gmail-DOT-com

Peace, strength, and good health to you.

from Vona Van Cleef, Newsletter Editor, El Paso Monthly Meeting (4/4//2020)