A message from Colleen Gresk, Board of Trustees Member

At our June Board of Trustees meeting over Zoom, one of our reflection questions was “What is one hope that you have for our congregation this year?” As I thought about this, my primary focus was on the difference between treating our new reality as a consolation prize, versus accepting it as a time that can be just as real and meaningful as any other. If we do end up being a community that is virtual until around May of 2021, I hope we can become a community that is able to do that authentically and wholeheartedly.

What does it mean to be fully engaged at this time? I’m sure I don’t need to say that it’s not an easy task. There have been several major realignments in recent months in regards to how we make day-to-day decisions. One is the way in which physical health and face-to-face social interaction are suddenly at odds when they previously supported each other in most cases. Social activities and human touch are important elements of mental health, which in turn is important to public health. This flow chart looks somewhat different nowadays. Another realignment has to do with the relationship between technology and meaningful human interaction. We are used to being told that technology is a potential obstacle to our well-being and that we should be careful not to make it our default method of communication. Now it is the default by necessity.

How can we reorient so many different aspects of our lives at once? Many of our usual time-consuming responsibilities are still intact, and in some cases, they are now compounded by additional sources of stress. One way that we can start to realign ourselves is to avoid the temptation to make a mental list of what our lives usually look like, and then subtract the things that are no longer possible. Instead, we can start with a blank slate and think about the things that we can do during this time. Here are two questions that might help you get started:

What is something that can be done from a distance that can’t be easily done in-person?

What is something that is easier to accomplish now than it was a year ago?

Maybe you’ll discover an online virtual tour of a location that normally isn’t open to the public. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that some of your neighbors are outside more often than they were last summer, which will make it easier to find opportunities to talk with them (while social distancing, of course).

As Unitarian Universalists, I believe that we are well-suited to the task of seeing the value in this journey. We know that the journey can be as important as (or even more important than) the anticipated destination, even when the destination is not known. Indeed, we were brought together to UUCW because of the attention that we give to the journey, and the ways in which our paths intersect. Thank you to all of you who have continued to share your journey through our Livestream services, the virtual Coffee Hour, and our other committee and affinity group meetings.

Colleen Gresk

For more information, contact Colleen Gresk.