Full transparency . . . I’m taking a few days off and am writing this several days before the election. I’m not certain I want to react to whatever has happened on the 3rd by writing my thoughts on the 4th. Yes, perhaps we can all hear chickens clucking around in the background. I’ll own that. As I said a couple of weeks ago quoting Pres. Calvin Coolidge, “I’ve never been harmed by something I never said.” snort I am ready for this part of 2020 to be over as well, and to be about healing and reconciling and continuing the path toward justice and inclusion whatever the outcome of the election is.
You know how sometimes you don’t know how much you need something until you’re getting it? I wasn’t certain taking days off right now was the best idea given our recent announcement of suspending in-person worship again. Being available for folks disappointment or frustration with that decision isn’t something I want to run from, but goodness I was tired. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know until the first two days were a lot of sleeping, actually through the night. Not unlike so many of us during this time, I’ve experienced the pandemic insomnia off and on – too many things running through our minds and not always able to let it all, or at least some of it, go – a common theme for so many of us. The complexities that are so overwhelming during the day then come to try and work themselves out in the night. “Normally” that’s healthy part of our rhythm, our dreams, whether remembered or not, are part of the mind and body working through the struggle. When we aren’t sleeping well, those dreams don’t have a chance to help us feel better in the morning. Somehow this respite is doing that for me, and for that I’m more than grateful.
Maybe again the clucking chickens in the background, but I’m also taking a respite from a majority of screens. I am typing this on my computer, but in terms of social media, I’m doing a dawn to dusk “fast”. Checking in at night to respond as needed for work, but not using it for negatainment. Certainly there are positive pieces, but so much is not right now. I’ll face it again in a few days, but there is a peace that comes with opting out.
I’ve run/jogged/walked everyday. I shared with a friend this is the first time in over a year that I’m not experiencing pain from any injuries – no elbow, no plantar fasciitis (thank you Jesus!), no muscle aches from a statin, I almost feel like I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Part of that is the mind-body connection as well, when the mind is less stressed, the body feels better; and when the body is stronger, the mind is more free to fly. God does have a genius in all that, I would do well to listen more and argue less, that’s probably true in a lot of areas. snort It is with great intention in witness that Jesus is shown intermittently going off by himself to pray. Once after the death of John the Baptist, once in the 40 day wilderness journey to prepare for his ministry, once in the Garden of Gethsemane to make the life-defining decision to trust God and move forward toward the cross without violence or hatred. There are others, but those stand out to me because of the situations and context that are happening in those moments. We may not experience the intensity and history-changing moments that Jesus has, but we must not take lightly how God can give us what we need if we offer God some unfettered time to embrace and love us into our best selves.
We celebrated our Saints this last weekend in worship – one of my favorite albeit most bittersweet services of the year. In the course of the sermon I remembered a couple of my mentors/friends and moments of great beauty I had with them in the last few months of their earthly lives. Those memories have turned from acute sadness to still some sadness but also great healing. My friend Jayne told me at one point not to worry, she would never be far. When I slow down and rest, I feel that – others might say it’s a machination of my creative imagination, I choose to believe it’s real by God’s grace. The writer of Ecclesiastes says in the 3rd chapter vs. 11 that God has placed a sense of the past and the future in our minds, but we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I find that speaking to the moments when the veil between heaven and earth is very thin and God’s grace is so very real.
For today, life is peaceful and filled with rest. There will be enough work to do after the election for all of us to be about reconciliation, healing, and together working for those pushed to the margins to experience justice and full humanity. When Jesus came out of the Garden that final time of being “away” with God, there was a resolute strength that allowed him to face into the path that would lead to crucifixion with a peace that communicated to everyone along the way that God’s grace finally has the last and eternal word. May that guide each of us in thought, word, and deed in these most complex times.