When I was a religious educator I had a congregant talk to me about how amazed she was that her daughter seemed to absorb everything from the previous school year during the summer. Things that she struggled with during the year seemed to sink in somehow over the lazy summer days of doing nothing. Sometimes it is by “doing nothing” that we learn the most. I can tell you from personal experience that it is in the shower when I am “doing nothing” that my best ideas come to me.
June marks for many a time of transition. We have weddings, graduations, the school year ends, a work cycle changes and more. For congregations, many have a culture change; the annual meeting has happened, maybe a religious professional is ending their ministry and the rhythm of the calendar slows a bit.
I would like you to consider this period not only as a transition time but also allow it to be an absorption time. Let the lazy days help things to sink in. We have had so much loss in our lives over the last few years. In times of transition, we are also experiencing losses. Even if the transition is a happy one, things are changing and therefore we are losing something. Multiple losses make it difficult to sufficiently grieve all of them. Let’s take time to let the losses sink in too.
Add to all of this loss, the sadness and anger invoking state of the larger world. There is so much violence, hatred, complacency, unethical behavior, greed and selfishness in the news it can be hard to be hopeful. I ask you to remember that joy is one of our Unitarian Universalist values. Let’s use this period before the busy-ness of fall takes over to find joy.
I challenge you to look for joy every day. Maybe you need to create opportunities for joy to happen - place a little breathing room into the schedule. Many people keep daily gratitude journals. Perhaps you could expand that to include where you are finding joy.
When the “stuff” gets me down I have a mantra that I tell myself: keep love alive, keep love alive, keep love alive. So, connect to what helps you keep love alive. See where that takes you. If you are going on vacation or to a camp or conference center or to our denomination’s General Assembly you can look for opportunities to connect, find joy or keep love alive.
And finally, remember to help yourself by getting eight full hours of sleep a night. Good sleep habits make everything feel easier. I hope you can find joy in rest and relaxation. Sleep tight.