What's Changed?

By Erin J. Walter

PSA: Some of us have changed a lot during the COVID pandemic. A LOT. Many people change a lot even in a seemingly ordinary 17 months. Some of us are looking to "return to normal" while others are longing for a fresh start altogether, or something in between. We may be tired of craning our necks looking back. (How about you?)

As we engage with people now, perhaps let's treat even the ones we think we know with curiosity and wonder, rather than assumptions of who or how they are.

Similarly, it's always good to remember that there are many different ways to use social media. Off the top of my head, I can think of people who use Facebook almost exclusively for family photo albums, professional purposes, silly GIFs, open-ended discussion questions, or wise cracks. All of those varied, sometimes conflicting purposes, shuffled up in one platform built for capitalism! (I say this as a person who actively uses Facebook for a few of those purposes myself. In fact, this PSA was originally posted there.)

My favorite summary of social media vs. reality came recently from a friend.

"You're so busy!" an acquaintance noted to my friend. "You're doing great!"

And my friend said to me, "Doesn't this person know Facebook is just a highlight reel?!"

Even if you try, like I do, to give a balance of life's highs, lows, hilarity, and mundanity, yes. It's still a highlight reel. (You don't need me to tell you every time I take a nap. Hint: often.)

No matter how much you have seen of someone online since the pandemic, or any time, there is no way it's the full picture. This has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. I want to be open to what is new and magical and different in my life, and I want to be open to witness it in yours too.

As we meet again, in person or online, we have a chance to live our 3rd principle of Unitarian Universalism, which emphasizes both acceptance and spiritual growth. May we be open to accepting ourselves and each other as we are now, and may we be curious and open to the ways we have all grown.

With love,

Your community minister friend on the internet

Questions to consider - What would you like people to know about you now? What’s changed? What is your vision for your next chapter?

About the Author

Erin J. Walter

Rev. Erin J. Walter (she/her/hers) is a community minister, activist, and musician based in Austin, Texas, where she is affiliated with Wildflower (UU) Church. A YMCA director and chaplain until COVID-19 layoffs, Rev....

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