Seeking a Glimpse of Movement, Progress
By Amanda Hudson
The experiences and challenges within this whole pandemic continue and seem to be evolving a bit as time goes on. 
Hopefully we all have had moments of calm and gratitude with some peace mixed in. But even when we’ve felt all alone in our struggles, our faith can help us remember that we are never alone, never forgotten, never abandoned by God. And perhaps we will even receive some sense of God’s direct care for us.
All of it helps. We really must pray for all the people in our cities, our state, our country and in the world who do not know God or the good help that is a fruit of our faith.
God and faith are not, however, a panacea to make this and other life-altering experiences easy. Struggles at this point may include boredom and perhaps impatience and a restlessness that is hard to articulate. 
A recent travel magazine article tells of a young man’s quest to join the Four Thousand Footer Club. That association annually honors those who have climbed all 48 of New Hampshire’s mountains that soar 4,000 feet or higher. The author identified his motivation for tackling the challenge, and those same things might be what could help some of us right now.
“There are few impulses so primal as the instinct to inventory,” this hiker says. “We like lists because they project order into the world …”
What he calls “the tantalizing promise of completion” also motivated him to work on his “clearly articulated goal.”
Finally, he experienced consolations from his project, which helped him “to indicate change, progress, movement. We need these lists because we all want to know that we have been somewhere, that we’re going somewhere still. To remind us that our days have added up to something.”
One of our priests has said that we all should have changed in some way from the pandemic experience. 
If we come out the other side of this without having grown at all in our faith, we’ve wasted the opportunity. Hopefully we have become more spiritually mature, with a greater sense of God at work in our lives and in the world. 
Even better than lists, our faith can give us the knowledge of being part of something bigger than us, of living within God’s world and plan. But maybe we can use this hiker’s insights to realize some of our gains and to plan for future growth in the weeks to come.
As always when we seek to try to grow in faith, we can start with a prayer for God to inspire and guide that process. 
We might want to begin by looking back over these four months or so: What have we done differently? What practices have brought us peace? How has God reached out to us, and when have we felt close to Him?
Looking ahead then to the next few months of uncertainty: What specific spiritual goals might we aim for? What are some concrete steps we can take to draw closer to God?
According to the hiker author, specific steps that are clear and obtainable work best. 
Maybe we could decide on something like 10 short walks in nature that we deliberately fill with appreciating God’s creativity — and thanking Him for it. 
We could decide to pray a rosary or chaplet each day on behalf of someone we know who is struggling or ill.
We could pledge to call someone once a week just to let him/her know we are thinking of them. Or decide on another, loving action each week.
If we are sheltering with family, perhaps we could join together and create a family inventory that everyone would like to complete.
Beginning with prayer and God’s guidance, hopefully we can gain that sense of moving forward in our relationship with Him. We are, after all, going with hope toward heaven as we travel along in life, global pandemic or not. 
Even now, we can make our steps add up to something good.