Keeping in Touch during these Challenging Times

Saturday 16 May 2020

Dear Church,
Bruce and I just returned from our bi-weekly trip to Trader Joes.  How strange it is, even after all these weeks, to stand in line 6 feet apart, wearing masks, waiting to enter the store.  Stranger still is trying to remember not to get too close to others — how challenging are these times and how I look forward to a return to “normal.”  But then I wonder what normal really is and was the old normal really all that great?  Yes, it was known and I always figured that I at least knew what to expect; it was a pretty comfortable routine that didn’t allow for too many surprises or upsets.  But it was always crazy busy and sometimes I must admit I felt like that hamster running in circles on a wheel with not much time left over.  I wonder. . .I wonder if this time of pandemic and physical distancing isn’t inviting me to reconsider what’s important  and how I spend my life.  Do I spend my time running in circles or giving away God’s Love? I wonder. . .
I’ve also been trying to honor these uncertain times by creating in my heart more space for mystery. I’ve been trying to be ok with not knowing and allow lots of space for pondering all the things I do not know.  And boy I do not know a lot!   You know what I’ve realized though?  That thanks be to God I’m not expected to know everything and especially not the future.  Even though life feels very uncertain these days, wasn’t it always?  Did I ever really know what the future held, or even this day for that matter?  The invitation of my faith life is to place my trust and to give my heart to something more than, bigger than, deeper than, more mysterious than anything I “know” or even can imagine.  And based on the evidence of my life, and the witness of holy scripture and most especially the life of the One I follow, I believe that Holy Mystery is loving, compassionate, merciful and completely trustworthy.  And so today, I’ve decided to give my heart to and place my trust in the abiding Presence of God.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is enough love, joy, hope and peacefor one like me, for all us, for all the world!  And my beloved companions on the way, that’s a lot of love, joy, hope and peace!!!  
Love and blessings, Susan

Friday, 15 May 2020

Dear Beloved Community,
The fog is gone and the air feels fresh and clear. I love mornings like this, even though I’m finding it more difficult to get out of bed.  (Notice how much later these greetings are coming to you? 😉) Tiredness feels a constant companion these days.  They (experts I assume:-) tell us that all these Zoom calls, stress, worry, social distancing, technology, the list goes on and on…are making us exhausted.  Boy do I buy that!  I pray you are finding ways to rest your weary souls and fill your flagging spirits, if that is the case for you.  I pray that you’ll share what’s working for you if that isn’t the case; I’m sure the rest of us could use some tips.  But however you’re feeling on this glorious morning, I hope you’ll remember to give thanks for this day:  the sun that shines even when it’s foggy, the taste of a good cup of coffee (or tea if that’s your preference  😉), the email from a friend just checking in and sending love, the body that feels a little slow and achy today, the quiet of car-less streets, the morning news that may fill you with dread or delight, the sound of your heartbeat. . .in other words, for everything.  
Yes, these are challenging and unprecedented times, but we are alive, we are here and still breathing and God has indeed blessed us with this day and with each other.  And God has good news for us to share and love to lavishly give away and important work for us to do.  Thanks be to God, this new day unfolds before us and we get to choose how we will live it.  I choose joy; I choose hope; I choose life! 
One of the things that helps me choose life even in these hard times is knowing that “God’s love is boundless in good times and sad. God’s love will carry us through times of tears until we reach a place of gratitude and praise for God’s goodness. Julian of Norwich (ca. 1342–1416), an English mystic, wrote, ‘The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.’ Everything—including our journey of grief. May it be so.” (~Nell E. Noonan, from A Widow’s Prayer: Finding God’s Grace in the Days Ahead).   God’s Love is present in all of life and will carry us through our tears of joy and our tears of sorrow. Now that’s truly good news!!!  Amen
Love and blessings to you all, Susan 

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