Adapting can be exhausting!
All the plans were in place, yet as the wedding day came closer, adapting became necessary. Summer began early in the Pacific Northwest with a heat dome that brought unprecedented record-breaking high temperatures the weekend of June 25-27. On Saturday of that weekend, my son and his lovely bride got married in a small intimate ceremony…. outside in the heat! We adapted and it was a lovely wedding. The wedding started an hour later because after taking pictures in the mother of the bride’s backyard, we retreated into the air-conditioned home to cool off, including the photographer.
Adapting to changing circumstances has been a consistent requirement throughout the pandemic. Adapting will continue as we are now emerging from pandemic isolation. I know that many of us are exhausted and needing an extended vacation!
A pastor friend of mine, Rev. Jenny Smith wrote about the exhaustion in a recent blog post. Although written specifically for pastors, it applies to all lay and ordained leaders in ministry. She writes that we have emerged from running a marathon as we have adjusted to all the changes, we have had to make over the past 16 months and now we are called to start a second marathon rather than taking time to renew our bodies, minds and souls.
We look down at our blistered aching feet, our hopeful but exhausted heart, our overwhelmed but determined mind, and we take a step forward into life as a gathered community once again.
Why? Because our world doesn’t know how to stop.
(Unless a global virus shuts down the world) …
…Yes, our second marathon has begun. Ready or not.
Problem is, our bodies are still recovering from the first marathon.
Maybe the answer is to stop running the second race.
What if we looked at each other and gently nodded.
Slowed our forced jog.
And started walking.
At the wedding, our son walked between my husband and me as we began the delayed ceremony . We were followed by the small wedding party that included a nephew in a dinosaur shirt and purple bowtie and a niece joyfully dancing while throwing rose petals! Then the bride walked down down the garden aisle with her mother. After the short (and hot!) ceremony, the newly married couple, with big smiles on their faces as they held hands, walked together amongst the scattered rose petals back to the cool house to begin continue the celebration.
My friends, as you continue to adapt to all the changes that come from restarting meeting in person, I pray that you will take time to walk slowly rather than running into the next thing on your calendar. Take time to reflect about your Messy Church rather than jumping into planning and organizing. Have the courage to say no to unrealistic expectations that may come from yourself or others. Find ways to connect with your team, supporting one another in prayer. May all of us in this Messy Church community commit to walk together into our constantly changing messy world.
Grace and Peace, Roberta