Loneliness, Isolation, Social distancing, Rev. Kathy Manis Findley, Covid-19, Abandonment, Covid variants, Antibodies, Immunocompromised

Abandoned in a Covid World

Most of you, maybe all of you, are past Covid-19 mandated restrictions. You are going out to eat, going to theaters, going to church, going to school, to ballgames, reunions, pools, parties and most every place you want to go—unmasked!

“Finally,” you say to yourself, “it’s way past the time of staying locked up! We’re free!” And everyone celebrates, ”No more masking! No more isolating! Just the sun and the sky and a bright and shiny future!”

Congratulations! You have broken out of this terrible Covid isolation. In doing so, you have abandoned about 7 million of us who are so immunocompromised, we must wait here in isolation until all it is safe for us to break free. Our Covid isolation time is indeterminable because it’s based on so many unknown factors—the Covid trajectory itself, the level of immunosuppression a person has, other health problems and the age of the person, the availability of antibody medications, vaccines and boosters. AND does this person have even one antibody?

As for me (a kidney transplant patient taking massive doses of immunosuppressive medications), after two Covid vaccines and two boosters, my antibody tests revealed that I have zero (0) antibodies! So the very minute all the people threw their masks in the trash, I was abandoned in this unpredictable world of the indomitable, evolving Covid-19 virus and all of its 772 variants, including double and triple mutant variants.

Covid-19 double mutant variant
Covid-19 triple mutant variant





I could not help but feel abandoned. No sooner than I could safely go unmasked after my transplant, the pandemic descended and the mask returned to my Covid wardrobe. I am now a three-year mask wearer.

But there’s more . . . for me and 7 million other immunosuppressed people in this country. I spend time on several Facebook transplant support groups. So while I certainly do not know the experience of 7 million people, I do know literally hundreds of transplant patients through dialogue on various online platforms.

Here’s what I mean: group conversations on Facebook and Zoom patient support groups, dozens of them every month! In those conversations, I have heard the voices of confusion, despair, isolation, anger, frustration, indecision, fear, uncertainty . . . The people are saying things like this:

They keep telling us that some masks are not effective. What kind should we use? Where do we get them? When do we wear them? How? Where should we wear them? What if others don’t wear them?

We can’t find out whether or not we should get the vaccine—how manydoses? How many boosters? When to get them? Where to get them?

Doctors don’t know, hospitals don’t know, pharmacies don’t know!
Even my transplant center doesn’t know.

Wow, there’s this medication that has been authorized for emergency use for immunocompromised persons! It’s called Evusheld! It is not a vaccine, it’s antibodies, real antibodies because we don’t have any!

EVUSHELD? I can’t find it. What does it do? My doctor never heard of it!
I found some three hours from here, but they don’t have the okay to give it yet.

I flew across the country and finally got some.
No one knows what dose they’re supposed to give.
My transplant center doesn’t have it and they don’t know if they will get some.
I have searched the internet in every state and can’t find it.
Now that the public is not wearing masks, we need it, and we need it now before we contract Covid!
There’s a website that lists every facility in the US and how many doses they received. You could call and see if you might get an appointment.
I found a place that didn’t even know they had any, but they called around and got permission to give it.

All these sentiments, and more, reveal to me that those of us who have no or low immunity are abandoned in isolation limbo, while the rest of the people have broken free to resume a normalcy of life that is unavailable to the rest of us.

Think about us, the 7 million who can’t go with you to a movie or a restaurant. Pray for our safety. Pray for the our well-being that’s harmed by the continuing angst of isolation we are in. Send us positive thoughts. We’ll do the same for you, and hope you never have to say, ”Oh, the places I’ve been! I should have worn a mask.”

And may all of us hope for better, brighter, safer days from Covid, from gun violence, from hate crimes and mass shootings, from abuse, from environmental toxicity and natural disasters, from war, from domestic terrorism and from the dismantling of the civil rights and human rights we hold inviolable.

And may it soon be said of all of us, ”Oh, the places you’ll go!”

Abundance, All Things New, Beginning again, Belonging, Bewilderment, Change, Comfort, Contemplation, Daybreak, Dreams, Fear, Freedom, God's love, Grace, healing, Heartbreak, I am enough!, Joy, New Life, Re-claiming self, Rev. Kathy Manis Findley, Sorrow, Tears, Weeping

Wide and Wondrous

How true it is that when we know nights of sorrow, when weeping is all we can muster, that daybreak does eventually come as it always has. And with the rising of the sun, perhaps our tears are replaced with at least some measure of inner joy.

The universe is wide and wondrous, full of love, full of grace, and sparked by freedom. Those three—love, grace and freedom—are the things we most need, all of us.

I offer you this meditation, praying that you are surrounded in love, that you know the grace that accepts every part of yourself, and that you feel the the freedom to run with the wind in wide and wondrous places, toward your dreams.

As you continue the quiet time you claim for yourself today, I hope you will be be inspired and comforted by this beautiful choral piece by the brilliant composer Elaine Hagenberg, ”All Things New.”

Poem by Frances Havergal
and text adapted from
Revelation 21:5-6

Light after darkness, gain after loss
Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears
Home after wandering, praise after tears

Alpha and Omega
Beginning and the end
He is making all things new
Springs of living water
Shall wash away each tear
He is making all things new


Sight after mystery, sun after rain
Joy after sorrow, peace after pain;
Near after distant, gleam after gloom
Love aftеr wandering, life after tomb

Activism, Compassion

My Body, My Choice!

This will be a time women will remember for a long time.
Whatever is your conviction or mine on a woman’s right to have an abortion, I hope we will pray for all women and girls affected by the Supreme Court’s intention.

“The Supreme Court is poised to overturn the constitutionally protected right to abortion ensured by the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling, according to a leaked initial draft of the new opinion obtained by Politico. The draft was written by Justice Samuel Alito, with the concurrence of at least four other conservative members of the Supreme Court.” (CNBC)

Strong reactions are occurring all over this country. Women are speaking out in powerful voice as they gather in front of state capitols. Another very strong reaction comes from Don Winslow who has created a powerful video with the theme #TEXASWarOnWomen.

Winslow has, for the past several years, been creating and posting powerful (and popular) videos that take aim at political hypocrisy. Winslow on Friday shared his latest, which highlights the savage effects the new anti abortion law in Texas will have on some women. It had just under 2 million views in 24 hours.

Over a chant of “My body, my choice,” the video’s narrator lays out some stark first-person realities for women in Texas: “If I am beaten and raped in the state of Texas, I have to give birth to my rapist’s baby,” she begins. “If I am raped by my father, brother or uncle in the state of Texas,” she continues, “I have to give birth to the body of my family abuser.”

Texas women are not the only women who will lose a human right. Other states will surely follow. ”I am a woman, is a statement that repeats over and over again. Watch the video here:

The is the video’s powerful text:

If I am beaten and raped in the state of Texas,
I have to give birth to the baby of my rapist.

If I am raped by my father, brother or uncle and get pregnant in the state of Texas,
I have to give birth to the baby of my family abuser.

This new law is so draconian that I can be prosecuted for having an abortion,
and so can my doctor, friends and family who advise me,
or even the UBER driver who simply drives me to the clinic.

This is madness.

The same people who have been protesting and screaming, “my body, my choice” when it comes to the Covid vaccine, are now saying I don’t have control over my own body.

Texas Republicans won’t require a 12 year old girl to wear a mask in school,
but they will force her to keep a baby regardless of how she got pregnant.

The video winds to a close with a powerful list of affirmations, each of which begin with the same mantra:

I am a woman, and I have a constitutional right to make decisions for my own body.”

“I am a woman, and I have a human right to refuse to give birth to my rapist’s baby.”

“I am a woman. This is my body.”

“I am a woman. This is the United States of America.”

“I am a woman. You do not own or control my mind or my body.”

The piece ends with three exhortations:

“Fight Now. Fight hard. Vote Republicans out.”

#TEXASWarOnWomen

Beginning again, Change, Contemplation, Meditation, Meditations for Healing, Sacred Pauses, Sacred Space

There Is a Joy

In 1998, I wrote a book of thirty-one meditations, Meditations for Healing, specifically for survivors of sexual abuse. In 2006, I revised the the first addition and in 2022, I intend to revise it again. The meditations for each day of the month are prompts to help us find contemplative sacred pauses, very needful not only for survivors of violence, but also for all of us.

As I work on the revision, I am struck by the reality that all of us are survivors of violence, depending on how one defines violence. Is violence a horrific attack on a person’s body? Is that all it is? People who have experienced violence, and I contend that means all of us, know that violence is not only a physical assault, it is also an emotional and spiritual assault on everything we are.

“Violence in all its forms” is a phrase I use often. Defining that phrase is straightforward. Violence in all its forms does, of course, means the obvious: sexual violence, intimate partner violence, homicide, suicide and all the other big, bad forms of violence we observe or experience.

Might violence also manifest its destructive power in verbal abuse, gaslighting, racially motivated acts, the marginalization of women, homophobia, xenophobia, child neglect . . . this list could go on and on.

So as you and I name the forms of violence we have experienced in our lives, contemplative healing becomes important. So I offer you this meditation for healing:

As you enter into moments of sacred pause, this musical arrangement may open your soul to rest, peace, comfort and new hope.

The text of this choral arrangement by Elaine Hagenberg, Still with Thee, uses excerpts from a poem by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh, 
When the bird waketh and the shadows flee; 
Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight, 
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee! 

When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eye looks up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose beneath the wings o’ershading,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.

So shall it be at last, in that bright morning 
When the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee; 
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning, 
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee!

Alone, Contemplation, Meditation, Prayer, Quiet, Quietude, Reflection, Rev. Kathy Manis Findley, Sacred Pauses, Sacred Space, Silence

In My Sacred Space

Photography by Johannes Groll

I write about sacred space a lot. I struggle to create sacred space a lot. I rest in sacred space . . . not so much. Certainly not enough. I confess that I, as a person who claims to cherish sacred space, can rarely find it. I must also confess that I need it. Yet, that space where I am tranquil, not agitated and troubled, is elusive to me. As some folk put it, “I’m staying busy!” Too busy!

Photography by Kevin Young

Sacred space is different for every person. Each person will know her/his sacred space intuitively, and by faith. Mine would be under a tree with spreading, low hanging branches or walking my own garden labyrinth.


Your sacred space may be beside the seashore, a place where you find calm, peace, or the ”silence” of the ever-moving ocean. Or you may not require a particular place at all, just a state of mind and an open spirit. If you long for a place of solace, inspiration, or re-creation, you will eventually create a sacred space, either a place that nature has created, a holy place that you have found, or a place you create in your own home. You will know the place, because you will sense what it is doing for your body and soul. Still, you won’t necessarily have to find your sacred space. Your sacred space may find you. And if you have only a few moments each day, make it your sacred pause.

Your sacred space may be beside the seashore, a place where you find calm, peace, or the ”silence” of the ever-moving ocean.


Do not strain to see where your sacred space is or what it should look like. A sacred space has many faces, many facets and dimensions.

Imagine . . .

Once you find your sacred space, spend time there. You may choose to redecorate a quiet place in your home, build something in your garden that can center your thoughts, or find a quiet, beautiful place nearby that you can get to frequently and easily. As for what you do in your sacred space . . . well that will be as varied as the different spaces people choose.

Pray, breathe, sing, meditate, sit in holy silence—whatever you are moved to do is your own sacred moment—a very personal sacred moment. There is, however, one bit of wisdom that seems important—words from Joseph Campbell: “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”


Music for Contemplation

Sacred Space ~ Music for Meditation




Uncategorized

Palms and Cheers of Hosanna! Passion, Oppression and Forgiveness

The Sunday of the Palm and Passion

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,

    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
  he humbled himself

    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess

    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 NRSV

This is Palm Sunday, of course. This morning I saw proof of that. Proof that today is Palm Sunday was all around my church this morning—the bright flower arrangement with palm branches as its foundation; the children who processed down the aisles joyfully waving palm branches; the live artist painting beautiful palm branches on her painting; the jubilant singing so filled with ”Hosannas.”

But there is more. In many churches, today is called ”The Sunday of the Palm and Passion.” When we hear the story of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, greeted by a jubilant crowd shouting ”Hosanna!” and waving palm branches, we cannot help but rejoice. But notice also how quickly the cheers of the crowd turned into jeers. Almost instantly, the palm waving stopped and the passion began.

After the green fronds moving gracefully in the breeze become still, we immediately sense passion—the passion that moved Jesus toward death on the cross, the passion we will see and feel in the week ahead.

In this stained glass window entitled ”Christ Crucified,” one can most definitely see an aura of passion. We see color, shape, movement and light that tells all of the story—Palm and Passion and everything in between. The window portrays a Black Jesus with arms outstretched, his right hand symbolizing oppression, his left forgiveness. We see pathos in the stained glass artist’s symbolism of oppression and forgiveness, and perhaps we interpret it as a message for us: that embracing both oppression and forgiveness creates our fullness of life.

The window was a gift to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, from the people of Wales, U.K. in 1964. You might remember that on September 15, 1963, the congregation of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama were greeting one another before the start of their Sunday service. In the basement of the church, five young girls, two of them sisters, gathered in the ladies room in their best dresses. It was Youth Day and they were excited about taking part in the Sunday worship service.

Just before 11 o’clock, instead of rising to begin prayers, the congregation was knocked to the ground. As a bomb exploded under the steps of the church, they sought safety under the pews and shielded each other from falling debris. In the basement, four little girls, 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and 11-year-old Cynthia Wesley, were killed. Addie’s sister Sarah survived, but lost her right eye.

There it is. The oppression and forgiveness—The Passion—the passion of Christ, the passion that a church family in Birmingham faced in 1963, the passion being endured right now among the people of Ukraine . . . and the passion that at times leaves each of us brokenhearted and despairing.

Yet, I call your attention back to the stained glass window. Of course, it portrays the passion of Christ, but surrounding his image are signs of hope beyond passion. From across the ocean, another country felt the angst of a church in mourning, parents of little girls laid low. I imagine that this extravagant gift from Wales represents hope beyond passion to this very day for the congregation of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

The stained glass visually expresses oppression and forgiveness, yet in its vibrant color and light, shouts of hope beyond passion:

Above Christ’s head, the rainbow colors of his halo. 
Surrounding him, the large circle of blues that looks like eternity.
And Christ’s hands—
his right hand symbolizing oppression and his left, forgiveness.

Whenever we dare to reach down into the soul to find our faith at its very core, we will always find oppression and forgiveness. I think that’s what passion is really about, when all is said and done—oppression and forgiveness.

A Prayer in Remembrance of Christ’s Passion

God of Life and Death,
         As we lean into this holiest of weeks, we will see both,
                     Life and Death.

Life in the waving of palms. 
Life in the cheering of crowd celebrating a king riding a donkey. 
Life in the washing of feet. 
Life in the sharing of the supper we call “Last.” 
Even in the sound of the cock, loudly crowing. 

But we sense this feeling of dread,
because we know also that this will be a week of death,
Even death on a cross. 

Comfort us as we relive the death of Jesus,
The Passion of Christ.
And help us to remember that in life and in death, there is more;
There is more oppression and there is more forgiveness,
and it brings us hope.

There is so much more . . .
After life
After death

There is Resurrection!
Amen.

Uncategorized

Peace, War, Devastation and Hope

Ukraine . . . ”Repair the Ruined Cities”


There are no words enraged enough to write about the horrific devastation in Ukraine!

There are no words angry enough to write about the devastating loss, the despondent people, the frightened children!

There are no words incendiary enough to decry a violent, inhumane Russian military or the power-hungry, evil man that commands them!

There are no words poweful enough to condemn what happened today: that at least 50 people were killed and around 100 injured in a Russian rocket attack on the Kramatorsk train station. The station was being used to evacuate civilians from eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. At least five children were killed in the attack.

There are not enough words to intercede in prayer and lament for a nation destroyed, with a wasteland left behind. Not enough words to cry out for peace. Not enough words to whisper in mourning for the Ukrainian people and their children who have been killed, wounded, and forced to leave their homeland. When will wars be over?

Of course, butterflies will still be beautiful after war, but what do we do in this season of war? How do we help? How should we pray? Where do we go to search for hope for the despondent people of Ukraine? How do we help repair Ukraine’s ruined cities? Of all the sources of hope we could seek, this passage of scripture, Isaiah 61: 1-4, always offers me a sense of new hope amidst devastation.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;

to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

A PRAYER FOR PEACE FOR THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE

God of mercy, Prince of Peace
help us to listen to your holy voice, 
a voice that speaks of peace to all people,
and in this moment, to the despairing people of Ukraine.

Let the sound of your voice resonate within us, 
until a whisper becomes a shout 
which cannot be ignored.

Move us with your love, 
so that our actions echo your peace, 
so that we may offer compassion and comfort to the Ukrainian people, brought low by conflict.

Comfort them, God,
with your peace that is beyond understanding,

beyond all conflict,
stronger than war’s destruction.

Fill us with your hope, O Lord, and 
let peace begin with us.

Quiet the fear and hatred that divides us
as we live into your calling to “repair the ruined cities” in our world,
grace us, in your mercy, with courage and hope,
so that we may see beyond the dark clouds of war, a true and lasting peace;
so that we may see that beyond destruction, there is restoration;
so that we may see that beyond death, there is life everlasting and eternal.

We offer this prayer, O God, with heavy hearts,
Lamenting the evils of war,
longing for a fresh breeze of peace by Spirit wind,
Through Christ our Lord, the eternal Prince of Peace. Amen.


The Prince of Peace
with the World in His Arms

Hear this message of peace offered by the Harlem Boys’ Choir.

Uncategorized

Now . . . We Will Address a Black Woman “Justice”

This is a moment to remember and celebrate! By a vote of 53 to 4, we will call a Black woman “Justice!” The historic pronouncement was made in the United States Senate Chamber by another Black woman, Vice President Kamala Harris.

What a clear picture of the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice! The arc does indeed bend toward all that is right and just. Today the arc bent ever so slightly, yet far enough to cause a nation to celebrate.

This confirmation of soon to be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is historic for this nation. The first Black woman will serve as a Supreme Court Justice, while her presence will make the Supreme Court look more like America and will more closely reflect the American people.

I stood up from my chair in the living room to join the Democrats who stood to their feet in an extended standing ovation! While we cheered, the Republicans filed out silently, unwilling to offer this highly qualified woman the respect she deserves. I wonder if the fact that they could not get out of there fast enough reflects their shame of how they treated her. I doubt it. I heard this today.

White women have to break glass ceilings.
Black women have to break out of a glass cube.

It’s true I think, especially when I consider that soon to be Justice Jackson endured 24 hours of grueling and often disrespectful questioning. She responded to every disparaging question with grace and dignity throughout the long hours. She knew, as women know all too well, that the first would have to be the best. She probably also knew that her ancestors, remembering their centuries of enslavement, encircled her in solidarity and celebration! A cloud of witnesses, witnessing what must look to them like a miracle!

It was not a resounding YES, but it will be a bright day in our history of days!

Congratulations, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson!

Uncategorized

I Need You to Survive

I tried to remember the name of every person who has prayed for me over the years.
I know that every name does not appear in this image of the dove,
but all of you, and those I left out, are gifts to me.
Thank you all wherever you are.

OThrough eight years of serious illness, dialysis, kidney transplant and all the other areas of my angst, I have heard one very special message again and again from folks I love all over the world. Each person said it to me in a unique way, and remembering their message makes me want to reach out to all of them with deep gratitude. I could never begin to list each of their names, although I tried to in the image of the dove. Their message was a cherished gift . . .

”I need you to survive.”

During a personal life assessment this past week, I thought a lot about this message I heard so many times. I realized that these might be the most loving words I have ever heard. Hearing the words again moved me to a tender time, one of those times when life and death and mortality somehow come to mind. Truth is, I am able to think about these kinds of life things only in my tender times. This week my favorite doctor, who knows a lot about all things tender, said something to me I won’t soon forget . . .

“When you first came to me five years ago, I didn’t think you would live another five years.”

Such a statement would most definitely bring to one’s mind all that is important and all that isn’t. Thinking on her words brought me to the tender moment I have needed for quite a while. I lingered there for a few days, hoping to let my soul rest and my spirit begin to see things in a new way.

It isn’t such a bad place to be right now in the midst of Lent. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to pay attention to my soul and spirit. Lent is the perfect time for tender moments and tender thoughts. Lent is the best time to be tender with myself while searching my spirit for the parts of me that must repent and return to God with all my heart. (Joel 2:12)

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 NRSV

Lent draws me to this psalm and its invitation to God. I might very well need to send this very invitation to God about searching me and knowing me, testing me and knowing my every thought. I come, though, to the part that asks God to see if in me there are “wicked ways.” I’m not so sure I want to do that. I know there are wicked ways in me that I try my best to keep secret. But this is Lent, and God already knows all about that.

During these Lenten days, be tender with yourself. Take a look at your secret wicked ways, but remember that God sends you the message clearly — that you are God’s beloved and that you receive the grace of God’s forgiveness even before you utter a single word of repentance. God’s like that, especially in our tender moments.


In your quiet time, listen for even a minute to this music video and celebrate its joyful message. It lifts my heart every time I hear it.

Bravery, Brokenness, Calamity, grief, Images, Lament, Oppression, Prayer, Suffering, Ukraine, War, Weeping

A Moment of Lament for Ukraine

Because many words have been written,
poetry has spoken mourning,
music has resounded hope,
and prayers have given voice to deep lament —
I offer these images.

In your moments of prayer and reflection, please join the people of the world who pray for the people of Ukraine. Perhaps this music will enhance your time of prayer and remind you of the tragedy of war and the finality of violence.

He shall judge among the nations,
    and shall rebuke many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    nor shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:4 MEV