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,