Here we are.
Together, we’ve weathered the worst of COVID, racial reckoning, and political upheaval of the past three years.
In our jobs and at home, we’ve absorbed additional workload, adjusted expectations and adapted as needed.
Many of us now know that we can pivot on a dime, and so can our churches, organizations and institutions.
It wasn’t easy.
We’ve grieved the loss of friends and/or family members who were taken by the virus or otherwise left us for greener pastures or that great gig in the sky.
We might have binged, fallen off the bandwagon, and/or held our head in the sand. Some of us might not have appreciated at the time just how bent out of shape we had gotten. Likely, someone else, who cares about our well-being, reached out and checked on us.
We’ve more than likely discovered hopeful facets of ourselves and others that only the fire of tribulation can bring out. We may have gotten a glimpse of the strength of our souls, or seen signs of resilience, that fertile soil for thriving.
We’re probably more protective of our personal time and care and what it takes to provide that for loved ones, than we were pre-pandemic.
Many have taken stock of our lives and have rearranged our priorities to keep self-care and care of others at the top of the list.
Keeping in touch via Zoom wasn’t ideal. But it allowed us to tell the stories of how our week went, to share joys and sorrows, and kept the members of our communities connected. It helped us to keep in touch with each other and made the inevitable handshakes and hugs when we finally got to meet-up in person again that much sweeter.
We made it from pandemic to endemic, where COVID is here to stay and is as manageable as the flu. That’s worth recognizing and celebrating.
While we may have lost elders — or youngsters — who were dear to our church, family or community, we may have also added new members who entered our circles while we were meeting online.
Getting back together in-person again finds us a little different than we were before: a little more hopeful, so much more appreciative of what we have, however we have to meet.
Where do we go from here?
There are still challenges before us. Politics are more divisive than ever, racism is still incorrigible, and health care in the U.S. is overly perplexing and costly. In Ohio, our legislators have chosen to arm public school teachers, rather than sensibly banning assault weapons. The opioid pandemic, with recent fentanyl deaths, is not over.
In addition, there is the global climate crisis which is affecting all of us in particular, local ways. Each year the environment breaks historical records for severity and destruction. Our local habitat is becoming more and more inhospitable.
What we all need now is to live in a resilient community with radical hospitality that welcomes everyone, giving each person a place at the decision-making table and in the response line to provide care and security to all. This is the shining light on a hill that provides much needed illumination in our world.
Our churches, community centers, and other organizations are already doing this. They’re thriving, not just surviving.
Such resilient congregations and organizations are also banding together, among each other, to create response networks. Because, truly, we are stronger together.
We will get through the coming years together, not just surviving, but thriving!
David Soliday is the minister at the Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.