This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, October 2, 2020
This week just didn’t feel very good for news. There’s a sad little understatement for you. I’m not writing off the whole week for goodness. I hope you know me well enough to know that I’m always going to find and hang on to that glass, half-full. Even so, there were more moments than I’d prefer, where I had to wrestle my heart in to accepting what my mind had already expected. Here’s one example, from my overly privileged life:
At the risk of sounding whiny, and a little late to the reality party, my long-planned, eagerly awaited trip to Iona, Scotland was officially cancelled, via email this past Monday. I say ‘officially’ because it’s already months since we made the family decision to postpone every aspect of that journey, scheduled as the launch of my sabbatical. My head has known for a while that the course would have to wait for another time… even a course taught by none other than John L. Bell; even a week-long course combined with life in the Abbey. My head has known this postponement to be necessary and true, and very, very small potatoes in the grander scheme of everything. My heart, however, felt it quite deeply when the email arrived to say the choice was no longer mine. With Britain deep in the pandemic’s second wave, all programs on Iona are cancelled until sometime in 2021. ‘Sometime’ now feels like a very long time from now.
I don’t begrudge myself the disappointment. Truly, I’m trying to practice more self-compassion along this life’s way. I do, however, catch myself in these moments when I start to dwell more negatively in what I cannot do, losing sight of what I still can. That temptation feels much closer to the surface in these pandemic days. Now moving into our eighth month of restrictions, and wrapping our collective hearts around the open-ended timeline of it all, it’s so easy to feel exhausted by the long list of ‘no’. It’s easy to feel angry or resentful; to feel shut out, shut down, or very far from how we once filled our time. I feel that, right alongside you. I also say that, when it comes to the church’s list of ‘no’ and ‘not yet’, I’m willing to stay this way, for as long as it takes to keep you safe and healthy.
How I wish there was an easy answer to any of this – especially when it comes to being church together. As this last Tuesday’s special Council meeting can attest, we’re in a constant state of re-evaluation; of asking ourselves whether we’re doing the right thing, or enough, or too much, or too little. Our search for the crystal ball remains elusive. Go figure.
So, what’s a minister to do, when head-and-heart dilemmas leave one feeling more like a confused ping-pong ball than a definitive leader? I’m going to trust. I’m going to trust the wisdom around me, in me, and the holy wisdom that loves me. I’m going to trust the plans we have, and trust our ability to change course, as time and realities dictate. Above all, through all, and in all, I’m going to trust that this fractured time apart won’t define us forever. It can, however, redefine us for the better, as we hold fast to our call to live God’s Good News. My head and heart are in full agreement on that.
With love to you all,
“Love has bridged the high-rises of despair we were about to fall between.
Love has been a penlight in the blackest, bleakest nights.
Love has been a wild animal, a poultice, a dinghy, a coat. Love is why we have hope.”
(Anne Lamott in ‘Almost Everything’)