Breathe In, Breathe Out

Breathe in, Breathe out.  That’s what a lot of us have been saying these last few weeks, trying to keep ourselves calm and focused.  Stress seems to be piling up on all of us, we feel irritable, scared, anxious, even when we tell our brains that it will be alright, that we will disable this virus and have our lives back to the way that they used to be.

I just want to reiterate how serious this time is in which we live.  We may feel that we are on the downtick, that the worst is over, that we can relax our restrictions and go back to living our normal lives, lives we are used to, lives that feel very familiar.  I want to tell you not to do that yet.  We still need to stay sheltered in place; we still need to wear masks when we venture outside, we still need to appropriately keep our distance from others we don’t already live with.  We still need to do the opposite of hoarding needed supplies.  We still need to reach out virtually with others to ensure they are okay and feeling well.  We still need to help our neighbors who may need our help.  We still need to tell others how much we love them.

It’s such a frustrating time, especially when we feel okay.  I want to go outside, I’m sure many of you have said, I feel fine!  But this is the time the virus can make a comeback because we feel like the worst is over and we return to normalcy.

I want to just reiterate today that we can’t do that.  I know some folks are getting antsy, and in our area we have been managing gallantly, even what I would call heroically!  We can be proud of the San Francisco Bay Area as we really have stepped up and done our part.  And our congregation has been heroic!  Our Pastoral Associates have been calling members and friends to check on them and just say hi.  Our tech team of Steve and Graham have been amazing in ensuring our services and meetings and get togethers have occurred on Zoom.  Our choir even held an All Music Sunday this past Sunday!  It was amazing to hear the talent that our members offered up to the congregation on the Internet and it went so smoothly, it was amazing!  Our Canvass Committee is continuing to collect pledges and create a budget for next year, even by giving this amazing video report during the service last week.  So many have given unselfishly of their time and skill to ensure that our community continues on in almost every way.

So your continued vigilance means a lot.  I want you to know that you mean so much to me.  Your lives mean so much to me.  We have suffered a loss in our congregation in the last week and that brings even closer how much each and every one of you mean to me.  I know I announced my new congregation to you on Sunday and it feels more real that I will be leaving you this summer.  If I haven’t said it enough, you all live deep in my heart and will forevermore.

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  You don’t need to do more than you are.  Take time to breathe, take time to meditate, take time for self-care.  Now more than ever that is vitally important.

And you are all vitally important to me.  I love you all deeply.

Loving blessings to you all.

Rev. Jo