Our monthly theme for April is Liberation. Wow, has that taken on a whole new meaning for us in these days of “shelter in place?” Our worlds have shrunk to the size of essential services and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I don’t know about you, but I suspect we may have some feelings in common. I’m cycling through feeling fine, to anger at the way our Federal government is handling this crisis, to fear about the world and new ways of doing my RE ministry, to panic about members of my family becoming ill and not being able to see them, to gratitude for things as disparate as both technology and the natural world. I’m also feeling pride because I seem to be able to learn new ways to connect.
It amazes me how much it lifts my spirits to see you on Zoom, to get a phone call from an old friend, to get a silly text from my family. There is a grim shadow hanging over at least some of us. We don’t want it to be there and push it way. Maybe if we are lucky, it doesn’t last for long. So when we see or hear from one another and know that friends and loved ones are okay or even struggling but still there, it is a welcome relief and our hearts fill with love and maybe our eyes with tears.
What I see when I look out my window or take a walk is a beautiful day, neighbors waving at each other, people pulling together to make it work. My spouse and I are in the age high-risk group and as a result are having others grocery shop for us. This makes me feel very vulnerable and is inordinately humbling. Yet abundantly grateful to those who are shopping for us—paid and volunteers.
My life is simpler than many. My heart aches for all the people who have to juggle homeschooling, a job (if you God forbid haven’t lost it), plus taking care of a home, not a little condo. Before this happened, I’m sure all that was already more than enough. Here’s what a woman I follow advised the other day. She said to focus on what you can control (because there’s so much we can’t right now), set some limits about what you won’t do. Don’t do anything that can allow your life to spiral out of control. For her, she is focused on keeping her food plan intact and refusing to pick up a cigarette. She also says to give yourself permission to be human—even if it means binge watching Netflix for 5 hours. And, maybe most important, she says to take it one day at a time. This day, this individual day, is a manageable span of time.
It also seems that we, by virtue of the Covid-19 virus, have been liberated from so much. Maybe we asked for a simpler life. Maybe we asked to heal the world from climate change. Maybe we asked for more time with our family and time just to be at home. Of course it didn’t come in the form we imagined, but let’s appreciate what gifts there may be. Maybe we will be liberated from them and all too soon.
As for the Religious Education program, this month is full of interfaith and secular sacred days: Passover, Easter, Earth Day and Ramadan. The PreK-7th graders will engage with each of them in turn.
Passover’s theme is we are liberated together. Indeed, that couldn’t be truer. Easter’s theme is loss and never letting defeat have the last word.
We will rise again from this difficult time. On Earth Day, we will discover that saving the Earth is saving us as human beings, and life as we know it. And Ramadan will teach us about what matters most. We are discovering that daily.
The Youth Group will continue their focus on leadership. It is a blessing to be with all of you in this moment. What is it you wish to be liberated from? What small steps can move you in that direction?
I look forward to seeing you.