I am tired. Are you tired? I'm tired and cranky and just want all of this craziness to stop.
I'm worried. Are you worried too? Worried about family members who are at higher risk from this virus. Worried about the impact of the uneven recovery from the pandemic on the congregations I work with, my family, my local community. Just worried.
And I'm angry. Since I have a nursing background, I fully understand the impact of the anti-vaxxers, the anti-maskers, the anti-mandates crowds on our ability to overcome this virus and get back to a semblance of normality. The risks this is presenting to those who can’t get vaccinated. Are you angry?
And does it seem like everyone around you is just easier to set off? Like everyone just has a short fuse? I’ve seen it in my neighbors, my family, online, even in myself. It’s everywhere. Things that never would have triggered folks in the past are now. Where did kindness and understanding go?
The pandemic has been stressful on everyone. Whether you have been isolated with minimal contact or managing home schooling and work family schedules or if you are an essential worker and out and about in the world on a regular basis, you have been under stress. This has been a traumatic experience for us all and we're still in it. Learn more about the trauma connection from this video by Rev. Sunshine Wolfe.
It’s hard to believe that we’re coming up on two years of dealing with the pandemic. We’ve had several false starts where we thought we would be able to return to “normal” only to be disappointed. We’ve learned the hard way that another variant could reverse all the progress we’ve made thus far. This has taken a huge toll on all of us, on our emotions, our mental health, our physical health, our relationships, and our communities.
Lately our Congregational Life Staff have been hearing about this from our congregations. People are tired, they are worried, they are angry. Congregational staff are tired and burned out. You’ve probably started hearing from our staff that if your congregation is burned out and at a loss, to consider taking a break. Rev. Sunshine Wolfe<, one of my CER teammates, wrote about a congregation they work with who decided to take a break from worship for a month or so in an email sent to congregational leaders by the UUA last month. Natalie Briscoe, the lead for the Southern Region, wrote a blog post Dear Congregations about this topic earlier this month that we shared on our social media and I invite you to read it.
We are finding that focusing on relationship building and being in community is more important right now than content. Can your congregation focus on that? Provide time to just be in community and share your struggles and victories? Focus on small groups who can support each other? If not, can you "Take a Trip” to virtually visit another congregation for a week and come back for coffee hour in your own Zoom room to give your worship leaders and volunteers a break? Rest and renewal is important too, don’t let that be lost in all the online, hybrid and re-opening plans.
And remember, if you are lost, if you have questions, if you need ideas, reach out. Your regional staff are here to help. We may not have the answers, but we can listen and connect you to other congregations who are navigating the same waters.
We Are Better Together.