Rev. gail Marriner
UU Santa Fe Minister
Hello friends, I hope you are still well. It has been a crazy week. So far members of our congregation are still healthy, but many of us, if not most of us have been affected by this pandemic already. My mom had hip surgery last week. My sisters were with her immediately after her surgery and I was supposed to be with her when she went home. By the time that was to happen her senior living facility wasn’t admitting any visitors – so my brother drove from Madison to pick her up and take her home to his house – they wouldn’t let him in. He had to wait for her at the curb.I ended up cancelling my flight. It was worrisome and disappointing and inconvenient but we were lucky, we had the financial and human capital to navigate the rapid changes. And it all worked out. Not everyone is so fortunate.
You can’t see people’s vulnerabilities – some of us are worried about kids, or aging parents or dear friends who are immunocompromised. Others are worried about accessing medical care, or paying the rent and buying groceries. Everyone’s situation is different. Everyone’s vulnerabilities are different and what makes each of us feel safe in these anxious times is different.
TP is not my go to comfort object. My family is with me, I have lots of books and good meaningful work. I have what I need to feel safe. We have a houseguest right now who takes solace in having sufficient olive oil and abundant garlic in the house and that’s fine too. What helps you feel safe? It’s an important question to ask and answer because feeling safe in this chaotic time calms your brain and lets you think more clearly. It’s not until we feel safe that we begin to think about the people around us as worried human beings coping the best they can. It’s not until we remember we are in this together, that our compassion is triggered.
There’s a story told in a couple of faith traditions about the difference between heaven and hell. In both cases the souls of the dead are seated at vast heavily laden banquet tables with long handled spoons or long chopsticks strapped to their hands. The handles are so long that it is impossible to put the food into your mouth. The souls in hell are pinched and starving, complaining bitterly, wailing and fighting. The souls in heaven are animated, joyful and well fed. The only difference is that the souls in heaven are feeding each other.
We can choose friends – we can choose to be afraid and angry, to mistrust and scapegoat one another – or we can choose to feed each other and our neighbors.
Last week’s challenge was to figure out what you needed to feel calm and to be safe and to reconnect with your support systems. This week’s challenge is to start figuring out how to feed each other and our neighbors – literally and metaphorically while we practice being safe. Pick up groceries for a neighbor, learn to use zoom, host a digital sewing circle or book discussion or sing along. Be careful and smart. Let’s feed each other.
Be well friends,
UU Santa Fe Board of Directors
Board of Trustees (elected membership) oversees our vision, direction, priorities and our committees.
It isn’t often that a Board must face an unknown that is as unprecedented and unpredictable as a Pandemic. Yes, there is war, there are floods, and there are famines. They all require a measure of resilience and dare we say, chutzpah. Fear of the unknown can bring us to inaction. But that isn’t what is happening in our community. We see the following:
With all of our hearts and minds...blessings.
Laura Solomon is the clergy intern at the Washington Ethical Society in Washington, DC, and an M.Div. student at Meadville Lombard Theological School. She believes in the profound beauty of connection and community, and the power to transform ourselves and our world when we join together to act about issues that matter. Laura lives in Sykesville, MD with her dog, Marshall.
"Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch."—Internet meme
While it’s true that we are not being called to war, it's also true that these are challenging times. I would argue that some of us are being called to do far more than sit on our couch. Most of us, in fact. All of us, probably.
I understand this meme: we need humor. We need to poke fun at this extraordinary situation, and it's healthy to do so. But we also need to be extraordinarily gentle with one another. Excessively gentle. Tender, even.
Some of us are being called to serve vulnerable communities. Some of us are being called to provide comfort, care, and support in new, challenging ways. Some of us are medical professionals and first responders taking risks. Some of us are accompanying the dying. Some of us are holding the fragile mental health of children and adults. Some of us are scared for ourselves, or for our children, or for our parents. Some of us are out of work. Some of us don’t know how we will pay our rent. Some of us are uninsured and scared. Some of us will need to spend days at home entertaining children—which presents myriad challenges for our own mental health, or our child’s mental health. None of us are unaffected.
Years ago, I did one of those mud run obstacle races. I didn’t struggle much with the actual physical obstacles (or the mud), but I had a moment of utter panic when I realized I had to change my clothes in a big tent where there was no privacy. My friend had her moment of struggle when we were in line and she had no choice but to wait patiently. My biggest learning was that while there were eight physical obstacles on the course, we all had a ninth obstacle.
That’s kind of what’s happening right now: COVID-19 has imposed eight obstacles that we're all contending with. But we each have nine—or more—obstacles. You have no idea what anyone else’s ninth obstacle (or tenth, or eleventh) is. You just know they have it.
We have no choice but to be gentle…excessively, generously, powerfully gentle.