Of course I’ve not ever lived through a time like the one we collectively are experiencing now. I suspect that most of you haven’t, either. Many of us are, therefore, noticing in ourselves a heightened anxiety about this liminal time that feels so disorienting and unsure.
But I’ve realized, too, that even though this is a uniquely unusual time, I—and you—do have experiences whose lessons can apply in current circumstances. We have skills and resources that are relevant to our daily emotional survival. Big things are happening that are likely to change our lives significantly. And still, each of us must get through each day as best we can.
So I’ve been thinking about moments in my life when I had plans and expectations that were completely disrupted by an unexpected turn of events. The day when my strong and fearless grandfather was critically injured when a propane tank exploded near him, severely burning much of his body and debilitating him for months. The summer before my senior year of college, when my parents separated and I was forced to relate to each of them differently. The broken heart at the end of a romantic relationship. Watching my partner board an airplane headed to the other side of the planet, with tentative plans never to return. Learning of the loss of a pregnancy. And another.
Each experience demanded something new and unknown from me, and in most cases the situations weren’t as devastating as they initially seemed. So it’s easy now to look back and see the lessons and the ways I grew—and how my life, who I am today as a minister and a parent and a human, was shaped by it all.
But while I was going through those things? Fear, sadness, anger, worry. And a very real dependence on trusted companions—friends, co-workers, sibling, parents. In the throes of hardship and heartache, I learned better what sort of supports are (and are not) helpful to me. I learned better what kinds of physical activity and fiction and music feel nourishing. I sharpened my skills of discerning what is important and what is urgent. What is both. What is neither.
Your hardships and heartaches are your own. As are your lessons and strengths and resources. But we all have them, in one form or another.
Looking back, it seems that in those challenging times I may have been equipped—and perhaps in some ways was actually prepared—to deal with the turns of events, but I certainly didn’t feel ready for any of it.
Right now I’m reminding myself—repeatedly and often—that we’re taking one day and one week at a time. I’m sure I’ll look back on these days and appreciate lessons learned and skills honed. But for now I’m just going to do my best to tend to that which is most important in this moment, and to stay as connected as possible with you.
The UUCC staff and leadership is actively exploring ways to provide sustenance and connection during this time when we must remain physically distant from one another. (And we must, for the good of our communities, remain physically distant.) For example:
- Please check the website regularly—currently we’re dumping a lot of information on the COVID-19 Updates page, and Hannah and Sara have been updating calendar events to reflect virtual gatherings. And our website communications will continue to evolve.
- We plan next week to begin sending a Daily Inspiration email to anyone who wishes to receive it—you may subscribe here. (If you’d like to contribute a quote or poem or passage for consideration, please send it to me.)
- On our YouTube channel you’ll find a Breathing Space video of our chalice and bell, and we encourage you to play it at 7:00 each evening, knowing that others in our UUCC community are joining you.
- Are you part of a UUCC group that would like to gather virtually and doesn’t have the necessary tools? Sean can help connect you with those tools!
- And finally, we’ll see you (virtually!) in worship on Sunday 10AM!