Showing posts from March, 2020

Lack of Capacity for a Pandemic

For the last ten days, I have been in voluntary social isolation to protect myself and others. I am 75 years old and a cancer survivor, and therefore,one of those people considered at high risk should I get the Coronavirus. Staying at home may be the most important thing that you and I can do to help reduce the risk of the rapidly spreading highly contagious virus along with washing our hands. Fortunately, I have plenty of food and supplies for at least the next couple of weeks.  I expect my social security check to continue to show up in my checking account each month.  I have friends I can contact for both emotional and physical needs.  I have two cats that provide me with companionship.  I have meaningful responsibilities through part time, contract and volunteer work that I can do from my home.  I have plenty of books, CDs and DVDs and access to Netflix, public television and radio.  Most days are suitable for my working in my yard.  I have a stationary bike and other equipme

Who Is Our Neighbor?

When Jesus said that one of the two greatest commandments is to love our neighbor and he was asked, “ Who is our neighbor?” , he replied that our neighbor includes those beyond family and friends.  The Samaritan businessman who exemplified the one showing love was someone Jesus’ audience would have considered the enemy, the outsider, the one not to be trusted.  The Samaritan gave his time and money to help a stranger in a desperate situation while other religious people hurried on by. Questions to ponder: Who might be surprised to receive your help today, who might consider you the enemy because of the color of your skin, political party, religion or other identity? How can you help when physical distancing is critical to stop the spread of the coronavirus? How can we trust help at a time when people posing as doing good are actually perpetuating fraud to gain access to our personal financial information in order to steal from us? We are fortunate that we have the technolo

"Think about your connection with the land..."

By now I assume that everyone is convinced that the coronavirus pandemic is not a hoax and that we need to take care of ourselves and do what we can to care for others as well. We have cancelled the Community Talking Circle previously scheduled for March 28, 2020.   In the Facebook notice I sent out, I received the question of why from a person who had not heard that it was already confirmed in Wyoming.  She, like me earlier, had hoped that it didn’t reach us.  Denial is often the first reaction to bad news.  But to act and to heal, we need to now move beyond denial and to acknowledge that we are in a world that is grieving, sometimes bringing out the worst in us. I teach a college class one evening each week. In response to the threat of coronavirus in our community, we now will be meeting by Zoom and my students assignments will continue as normal.  Worship services here are being conducted on-line or by Zoom.  Is there a way for us to continue to communicate in a meani

Ain't Gonna Happen Here!

Today was my church’s monthly potluck lunch, and at the table where I was sitting, a conversation began about the need for a shelter for the homeless people in Riverton.  Prompting the discussion was an announcement at the prior worship service about a fundraiser to restore the shelter closed earlier this year and given to Eagle’s Hope, a mission my church had been instrumental in starting a few years ago.  Funds can get it ready to reopen by May.  The recent death of Ed Brown was mentioned, and that no one deserved to die like he had in the city park on a cold winter’s night.  Someone noted that it’s too bad that the Tribes and the city are not working together on this. A woman sitting directly across from me said, “ Ain’t never gonna happen!” She went on to say she knew this because, in all the years she had lived in Riverton, the Tribes always refused to work with the community. I took a deep breath.  At this point, I had said nothing, only listening.  I was trying to thi

Cause of Death: Hypothermia?

This past week at the Riverton City Park, Northern Arapaho Edward Brown, age 60, died.  His body was found in the band shell with cardboard as if that would keep him warm.  The temperature was 8 degrees outside when the police arrived after receiving a report of the dead body.  It had been much colder earlier. Cause of death?   It likely will be reported as hypothermia. That is how it is reported when missing indigenous people are found outside and dead without understanding why the body was there. But what is the real cause?  Why was Ed Brown sleeping outside on a cold winter’s night?  Was that his best choice for where to sleep, given that the shelter for the homeless was closed earlier this winter due to a lack of funds for needed repairs? Could he not get himself arrested so that he could be taken to an already over-crowded jail? Was he not intoxicated so he could utilize the detox at the Center of Hope?  Did he have no friends where he could stay? Who is to blame?   A co