I have been working from home since mid-March. It’s been challenging, to say the least. The first few weeks were spent getting used to working from home, and once I got a rhythm going, it wasn’t unbearable… until weeks turned into months. Four months later, I still have moments where I’m just over it and ready to “get back to normal,” whatever that means. In those moments, I lean into a lesson I’ve learned over time: choose empathy.
When I ache to be with my congregation, I try to empathize with the people I serve in my congregation who are unable to leave their homes due to physical or health limitations. I’m getting a fraction of a glimpse into their reality, a reality that has likely been a years-long journey for them. When I feel stifled by my mask, I think of all the immunocompromised people I am protecting, my mother included. And when I fell afraid, as someone who has exercise and allergy induced asthma, thinking of others and remembering them in prayer helps me to stay calm and grounded.
Choosing empathy; putting myself in another person’s shoes changed my perspective. I find myself becoming less self-focused and more gracious to the world around me. Choosing empathy also helps me to be grateful for the glimpses of goodness I’ve found in this time.
One good thing that has come from being at home more is having more time to cook dinner at home. I love to cook, and recently perfected a recipe for enchiladas. I’ve made them twice, down to a sauce from scratch, and homemade tortillas. I’ve also been able to introduce my husband to the glory that is Brazilian food. The coziness of mingling my biological Latinx heritage as well as cultural experiences growing up on the mission field, with my current reality is a blessing of hospitality that I can offer my husband, and a gift of soothing peace for me.
Finally, the most impactful lesson I’ve learned in this time is the value of living in the moment; living each day for the opportunities it brings for empathy and creativity. This is why I am intentionally focusing on ending well in Atlanta, before moving to Durham. For the next few weeks, I am focusing on being thankful for all that Atlanta and my time here have meant to me. I’m clinging to gratitude for my church and their love and care which have shaped who I am today. I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you are going through, you will remember that you are loved.
Sara Robb-Scott is concluding her tenure as associate pastor of Scott Boulevard Baptist Church, and pastor for senior adults and pastoral care at First Baptist Church of Decatur. Sara and her husband, Andrew, are relocating to Durham, North Carolina.