All of us can see the bad news: the death toll in NY and CT is staggering, we seem to be running out of medical supplies, and the federal response to this pandemic has been woefully inadequate. I can’t imagine the stress front-line providers, from doctors to delivery people, must be feeling. If you are getting deliveries, send up a little prayer for the person making the delivery and please tip generously. They are literally putting their lives on the line for us.
Most of us know someone who has had this terrible disease. Some of us have had it. Some of us have lost loved ones to this pandemic. The worst part of this pandemic is the social isolation it places on those who are suffering and their families. It is so painful to not touch the hands of those who are dying. While we admire the power of ZOOM and other social media technologies to draw us together in new ways, it is painfully inadequate to say goodbye to a loved one over a video screen.
I find myself needing to take frequent breaks from my days on the phone and on my computer’s camera. Video conferencing forces a new kind of intimacy onto our lives. Each of us face-to-face in living color. No chance to let your eyes and minds wander off as when you are in a personal meeting. There is only you and everyone else fully visible at all times – not to mention the backgrounds of our homes, messy, loud and full of distractions. Stress, such as we are living through, is actually a low level trauma which impacts our minds and bodies in ways we may not recognize. This is why it so important to get outside everyday; you are actually releasing stress and trauma by absorbing fresh air and sunshine.
And then there is our Spirit. Our Spirit, that essence of who we are and what gives us meaning, is besieged. How can we find hope in a world that is shut down, with news of flattening curves and longer social isolation? I pray each day for all of you. I pray for strength and courage and the wisdom to reach out to your church if you are despondent. There is no weakness here, only the power of love. It is that power which is holding us together.
Our Sunday services have been so well attended, well over 300 views each week. For those of you who attend on ZOOM, there is the added bonus of seeing one another on camera after the service. This coming Sunday, Earth Day, we will have “breakout rooms” on ZOOM so that we can connect to one another around a question. In fact, there are now four other congregational wide opportunities to attend to one another: “Evensong” with Rev. Ed and our Worship Associates on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM; “Talking Circle” with Rev. Jim Francek on Thursdays at 4:00 PM; our class “Creating Theology Together” with Rev. Shelly and myself on Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM; and, starting this week, “Lunch with the Intern Minister” with (the soon to be Rev.) Margalie Belizaire on Fridays at noon. We are actually growing our ministry during this crisis!
While there is a lot of bad news out there, I am finding a lot more good news. The blog 06880 by Dan Woog https://06880danwoog.com/ is a constant thread of uplifting local news. While centered on Westport, I find the stories to be tonic for my weary soul. Another great source for good news is the new YouTube show by actor and filmmaker John Krasinski, SGN or “Some Good News.” The show, which will warm your heart, is the number one YouTube channel. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOe_y6KKvS3PdIfb9q9pGug
What is your good news? Share it with me and let’s pass it along. Text to [wp-svg-icons icon=”phone” wrap=”i”] 1.310.710.6846 or email [wp-svg-icons icon=”envelop” wrap=”i”] me. Stories, videos, and love are all welcome. Friends, we are not only surviving, we are thriving as a congregation. Let’s keep it up and stay connected.
Yours always, Rev. John