From Your Lake Norman Gathering Minister
Dear Members and Friends,
Well, folks, Women’s March on Washington was a lot more than just women and a whole lot more than just women’s issues. I will never forget standing on Pennsylvania Avenue hearing the cheers of all the people. It was swell of sound moving down the street towards me like wave, getting bigger and bigger, surging over me, lifting me, and then moving on. It felt cosmic–vast and powerful, an ocean of being, of possibility, of hope.
So much change is happening around us. Like waves, these changes can either buoy us up or topple us. With a new president, a new lead minister, and a new relationship between congregations, it’s an exciting and stressful time. Many of us know that change creates anxiety, and, unlike my moment on Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s not always an uplifting feeling.
When we experience stress our heart rate quickens, our hands get sweaty, and if we pay attention, we can feel the adrenaline rush as we ready ourselves for freeze, fight or flight. These are old, old physiological defense mechanisms that are hardwired into our DNA. And at times, these responses are both necessary and helpful.
As we look around us to what is happening in our world, I encourage us to consider when these automatic reactions might not help. When we are stressed, are we sometimes too quick to speak and say things that are not helpful? Are there times we are so focused on ourselves we can’t see the big picture or be open to another person’s perspective? Do we at times hamper our most heart-felt desires to learn from difference, to practice care, and to create beloved community?
As we move into this new year as communities of people, feeling our respective ways into relationship with one another, I invite us to notice our bodies and the messages they are sending us. And when we feel stress, I encourage us to take deep breaths and practice consciously relaxing, pausing, to remind ourselves to respond with thoughtfulness, kindness and fairness.
We are all here, I believe, to create an inclusive community of trust, care and love. Let us engage in this endeavor with commitment and hope, knowing that we do have the resources within us to make our vision a reality. As always, it is my fondest hope that the lessons learned and the love shared will create ripples and even waves that lift us to new heights, new understandings, new possibilities. In the days ahead, I think the world will need our loving, thoughtful presence more than ever.
Yours in faith, hope and service,