Show Up in Love

“I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul…”

We have arrived surely into the year 2021.  It is here.  I’ve pinched myself just to be sure this is not a dream, even though recently, my sleeping dreams have been a surprising smorgasbord of peace and wonder.  

Our global pandemic is not over, nor will it be for many months to come.  Our President-elect and his team are not yet installed.  Our community remains physically separated.  My children continue to learn from home as we navigate the stress of too much time together and the truth that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.  

How fond I am of you, dear reader.  I delight in my knowing that many of you are reading this and perhaps similarly feeling relief, hope, joy, lightness, renewal, determination, and purpose alive within your internal workings.  I am, and while it feels a little peculiar and unfamiliar, these feelings are welcomed and celebrated.  Mixed in there is anticipation of when we might gather again, see one another’s smiles, and maybe even hug our friends.  As I write this, I imagine an entire Sunday morning service where we move around the room greeting one another, greeting each other over and over again in an attempt to make up for the greetings we’ve missed over the last year.  Hugs, handshakes, laughter and probably a few tears are in my vision, though I know that in reality, our first gathering will absolutely include masks, elbow and ankle bumps, muffled joy, and a new appreciation for eye contact.

We are beginning to allow ourselves to engage the conversations about re-convening this beloved community in-person.  For a long time now, I’ve not turned my mind toward that abstract possibility.  It’s just in the last few days that I’ve allowed myself to consider what a return to in-person RE will require, and I don’t have any concrete plans.  Like any Unitarian Universalist, I am full of questions.  Amidst all the considerations, community safety and health are at the top of the list.  This discussion demands patience, flexibility, and commitment to serve all of us and each of us.  

We wait for medical vaccinations as part of our plan to safely gather.  But in the meantime, it is my belief that our relationships with each other serve to vaccinate us from the isolation, loneliness, and frustration that accompanies our prolonged separation. Reach out, check in, communicate, and play as much as possible.  Freely and frequently give and receive joy.  Seek out multiple doses of friendly interaction per week.  Let’s inoculate one another with additional love.  

Through all of the challenges in our recent past, our emerging present, and our hopeful future, I know without doubt that this community remains present to the work at hand.  We show up for one another in love.  We share connections that sustain us through the joys, challenges, and sorrows that make up a life.  We evolve with the times, and face whatever the river is bringing into our path together.  I’ve got peace, like a river in my soul.

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