A message from Reverend Denise Cawley

Yesterday my son and I were walking on this glorious path around a lake in the mountains in the Pacific Northwest. The sun was mostly shining, the lake was so clear you could see to the bottom. The scent of pine needles wafted up my nose. “Come on mom, I’ll buy you a candle that smells like sap,” Aidan said, hurrying me along. I was delighted at just seeing, studying the colors and textures. I took 100 pictures. “Aidan, why are you walking so fast?”

“I want to see everything I can in Seattle. I don’t want to miss anything.”

Me: “We are here now, can’t we just enjoy this?”

This walk represents what a lot of us are feeling as things start to become more open and risk gets lower. Do we go as fast as we can and try to pack in all the experiences we have missed during the pandemic? Do we run as fast as we can to checkboxes and make up for lost time? No way is right or wrong. It is all life and we all need different things, different views, and different speeds.

I think about the conversations we have had around UUCW about reopening. We have spent hours and days reviewing data, reading plans, comparing changing plans and data. Some churches are opening now, others in September, others don’t know. As we try to plan for what is right for a herd of folks who represent every age and varying stages of vaccination and health, the decision to loop the lake quickly or pause and examine is constant. We are lucky to have lots of UUA resources, a great ROC19 Task Force, and a supportive Board and Congregation. Thank you for hanging on. I can’t wait to see you at our play dates this summer.

I have been reading about how trauma responses can kick in as we learn to be together in new ways. There is the anxiety our bodies have been holding in Covid. We may feel shy to hug or shake hands. Learning new safer ways to be together might get overwhelming. That is all real. Let’s all give one another grace, ask for permission to hug or shake hands, and just go slow. Things will keep changing and in times of change, stress is often higher. Yet the other thing that comes out is creativity in liminal changing times. Let’s embrace that creativity. Let’s play and laugh.

I had my first in-person “Tea with Rev. D” a few weeks ago. We have the next one online and I will see what the group wants for the July one. We are all figuring it out when there is no one way – to go quickly around the lake or stop and smell the conifers? Neither is right or wrong. They are just different ways to play.

Reverend Denise
Assistant Minister for Pastoral Care