Waiting.... It seems like all we have done for the last 20 months is wait.
We've waited for the SARS CoV2 virus to go away. We've waited for a vaccine to help make it go away. We've waited to be able to see family, visit friends, enjoy gatherings, see a show, travel, sing together, share a meal, stop wearing masks EVERYWHERE, hold meetings in person, go back to the office...
We've been waiting to just plain feel normal.
On top of all that, you have waited for me to arrive. You've been waiting for an Interim Pastor since Yael left last June. I know how blessed you are to have such a wonderful bunch of retired clergy who helped get to this week and I know they are tired and ready for a break! (That's what retirement is, after all.)
What both the waiting of the Pandemic and your own waiting have in common is the desire to feel safe, to relax, to move into the "normal" and predictable days of not thinking so hard about everything! Being always alert and ready to make decisions in the moment is exhausting. It does a number on your body's nervous system. Protracted episodes (like what we are living through right now) can cause lasting damage if attention isn't given to the antidotes to this much stress.
And what are the antidotes?
Acknowledgement - taking a moment to acknowledge what you are feeling and offer tenderness to yourself is a powerful medicine. Doing this for someone else can bring relief in an instant. Celebration - taking the time to celebrate every little thing that is a delight, that brings you joy is the next dose of healing we can all receive. Celebrate when you see a pet or a kid or a flower or a beautiful sunset. Celebrate when you smell something baking, a tree in your neighborhood, the earthy smell after a rain, that morning cup of coffee. Gratitude - taking the time to offer gratitude at the end of the day helps our bodies enter the restoration of sleep with the peace and ease that gratitude can bring. Perhaps this is why we were taught as children to say our prayers before bed. We don't have to wait to acknowledge, to celebrate or to offer gratitude. In all things, in every moment, we can do these three things as the subversive practice restoring hope in our world and anchoring the Peace of Christ in our souls. I am grateful for you! I can't wait to celebrate with you! I acknowledge that you have been waiting a long time. In Advent Hope, Pastor Robin