>>> Seeking Connection >>>

What is it called when your computer or phone keeps searching and searching to connect to WiFi?  Whatever that is??

That is my inner life everyday in this pandemic.

My extrovert, verbal and physical communicator self is on OVERDRIVE seeking connection in the ways that I am hardwired to do so.

That means … my inner life looks like this:

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.. while my outer life looks like this:

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And I’m just going to admit it.  Skype and Zoom and all virtual connectivity is tiring.  I know I’m not alone in this; it’s tiring for all of us in different ways — not just me.

While connecting through these tools are absolutely, no-doubt-about-it, incredibly helpful to continue to work, meet and connect right now, it is tiring, nonetheless.

Some days?  It’s even just utterly exhausting.  I explain it like this.

My body keeps reaching out – sending invisible, subtle signals to communicate with other people … but all the signals go unmet right now.  My signals won’t connect because they can’t.  Zoom can’t replicate our in-person connectivity.  Zoom can’t replicate the subtle nuance to our human communication methods, neither verbal nor non-verbal.

And all of that unmet effort is just plain ole’ exhausting.

So, per Brené Brown (my all-in-#1-gal right now), I am writing myself permission slips.  And I’m writing as many as I need today.  And you bet, I’m going to write as many as I need tomorrow, too.

  • I am granting myself permission to be tired of Zoom’ing.
  • I’m granting myself permission to go outside and run when I should be picking up the disaster that is my house after morning & afternoon online school & in-home play in between.
  • I’m granting myself permission to worry less about the well-planned and well-balanced meal that somehow gets onto the table tonight.
  • I’m granting myself permission to screw up.  Because THAT right there?  is a sure bet.  Today.  Tomorrow.  In the next five minutes …
  • And?  I’m granting myself permission to forget that I’ve granted myself permission.

I invite you to allow yourself the space to be tired.  To be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot “do,” and to embrace that your capacity right now might be  diminished.  If the above practice of granting yourself permission helps – DO IT.  I highly recommend it.  I use sticky notes!

And remember … whatever connection you seek, whatever you succeed or fail at, whatever nap you take or don’t take …

You remain loved by God, and you always have a family in the church of God here at Los Altos UMC.

And as Jesus spoke to his scared, “safer-at-home” disciples after his death (John 20:19-20) …

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked …, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20

Peace be with you.

Peace be with you,

~ Pastor Melinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is well. With my soul.

It is well with my soul.  I am saying that over and over again in my head and heart.

As I read and re-read Governor Gavin Newsom’s “six goals that must be met to lift California coronavirus order,” in the morning’s LA Times, I found myself breathing deeply.  Again and again.  I was encouraged by the the reporting that “[the state’s] strategy to slow the spread of the virus is working, pointing to relatively low growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations as evidence that staying home and social distancing are preventing a surge of infections.”  But as I kept reading, I found my own suspicions that our “new normal” path is needing to become a prolonged trek of all of us.  What we were forced to throw into place as emergency defense needs to grow into an ongoing strategy for offense against the novel Coronavirus.

Whoa.  Yep.  Long haul with significant and prolonged change lies ahead.  

As I read and breathed, as I took in and began to process what seem to be the inevitable steps ahead, this hymn bubbled up from I know not where.  It just sort of came up and through me, and I started to hum it to myself …

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

As I hummed to myself, certain images also bubbled up:

Images of the Los Altos UM church gathering tonight in a variety of Brady-Bunch style discipleship small groups over Zoom.  Patterned after our Everyone’s Inn small groups (and prior to that … our Wesleyan heritage), age-based and stage of life and reading groups alike will convene and God will do God’s work amongst the church.

Images of the Los Altos UM expanded church who will gather tomorrow night joining in the practice of yoga poses as a discipline of body prayer via FB live from our sanctuary.

Images of the Los Altos UM in Sunday worship dialogue with Pastor Mark.

Images of our Los Altos UMchildren responding to the children’s Sunday YouTube message and writing their cards and notes to our homebound.

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And how all of these spaces are offering places of discipleship, points of relational connection and formation and enhancement.  These spaces have been convened and led by both laity and clergy, and it is this work, these gatherings, this church that offers me great hope in this time.

I wonder what other spaces and people and images and relationships are yet to bubble forth?

You see, even as our civic life has shifted and will continue to emerge, I have no doubt that Jesus is at work amongst and through us.

And while there is deep uncertainty and many questions in my head, it is well with my soul.