Marguerite Robbins, Vicky Makrides, Rev Catie, and I are attending our annual UU General Assembly this weekend “together,” held virtually for the second year in a row. The theme of General Assembly this year is “Circle ‘Round for Justice, Healing and Courage,” and the conference was kicked off yesterday evening with an Opening Celebration, “Take What You Need.” That worship service was particularly grounding and healing for me. One of the liturgists, Euro-American UU minister Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, reminded us that, at times, when the body knows that the world is safe again, all of the feelings that we held at bay for so long can come rushing back in all at once. It helped put language around some of what I have been feeling these past few weeks. This is not to say that our communities are completely safe again from a public health standpoint or have ever been fully safe for BIPOC and other marginalized communities, only to notice that the big “exhale” that I took first when I was fully vaccinated and then when Massachusetts hit the “50% of residents vaccinated” mark really was tempered with some of the byproducts of unprocessed stress and trauma, and reckoning with my own exhaustion too. Along with that powerful homily, we engaged in a ritual of pouring out libations with black UU minister Rev. Sherman Logan and a ritual of taking inventory with biracial UU minister Rev. Shari Halliday-Quan, before moving into the business portion of the day led by co-moderators of the UUA Rev. Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond.
With all of this in the background, First Parish members, I wish you a summer of being relentlessly and radically gentle with yourselves (and others!). (Inspired by today, I myself might start a “let go” list that will live right alongside my “to do” list–a list to keep track of all of the things imperfect or unfinished from the day that I am just going to bless and release at the end of each day). This summer, I wish you places that feel safe enough to be, momentarily, in conversation with your grief; I wish you the time and space to complete some of your unfinished stress cycles; I wish you opportunities to do more of the things that bring you life (and grace and patience when you don’t even have the energy to do those things); and I wish you good spiritual and accountability partners on the journey.
With blessings on the journey, and patience, patience, patience,
Jenna Crawford, Intern Minister