Blog roundup: To hope even while experiencing fear

Blog roundup: To hope even while experiencing fear

Highlights from the Unitarian Universalist blogosphere, January to April 2020


The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long wrote: “[R]ight now, in so many ways, is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for families . . . for our republic . . . for freedom. But we also, all of us, have a dream of more love, more freedom, more justice, and deeper community deep in our hearts, burning unquenchable.” (Facebook, January 7)

The Rev. Rebecca Bryan encouraged people to move beyond anxious niceness: “When we seek to avoid pain at all costs, it doesn’t make us stronger. It can actually make us more fragile as we live in fear of what is around the corner. . . . If we take the bedrock of kindness and beauty of our community, and at the same time connect with the painful and more difficult realities of life, we will become more whole.” (Daily News, January 18)

Ella Beth Ferree offered practical suggestions for caring about the world: “Find your purpose. It’s not realistic to take on every source of injustice we see in the headlines. You are but one body, and it’s essential you find something you believe in so strongly that you find yourself filled with determination and direction.” (Oak Cliff Advocate, January 23)

The Rev. Catharine Clarenbach urged us to brace ourselves, pay attention, and get to work: “Let it sink in. Just take a breath, put your feet on the floor, ground yourself in your own body and your own safety, and take it in. . . . Bring your words, friends. Bring your bodies. Bring your voices. Bring your hearts. There may or may not be hope, but there is plenty to fight for.” (The Way of the River, February 6)

Remembering her grandfather’s skill with watch repair, the Rev. Karen Hering wrote about repairing a profoundly broken world: “It is clear that the brokenness around us and within us today cannot be repaired by returning inner gears into their old alignments. But can we understand our task of repair as one of uncovering the hidden light, first in our own hearts, and then in the world around us? Might this make us, and the world, ready again—for justice, for wholeness, for the beloved community we long to make real?” (Karen Hering, February 14)

Justin Almeida, a hospital chaplain in Seattle, wrote about covid-19: “Yes, we are afraid. And it is possible to hope even while experiencing fear. So much in life can and will break our bodies. . . . And yet I choose to live life, perhaps more mindful of the need to be, as I tell my son, ‘kind, loving and listening.’” (Necessary but not sufficient, March 13)

When his father died during the coronavirus pandemic, the Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter wrote, “I can’t stop touching my face. I know the recommendations, but you can’t wipe away tears without your hands unless you awkwardly use your shoulder . . . To remember [my father’s] life and grieve his death in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic means that we will have to be satisfied with the gentle arms of embrace of those already in our households and the digital messages of love we receive from those who can’t travel and can’t stop in.” (Dallas Morning News, March 20)

Liz James didn’t cope with the pandemic as well as she expected: “Please tell me how you are also failing, so I will feel like I’m not so alone in this? And if you’re at home making sourdough bread and crocheting face masks out of artisanally dyed yarn scraps, please keep scrolling, buddy. This is not the thread for you.” (Facebook, March 30)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford suggested that we provide pastoral care to each other: “Listen, and listen deeply. Resist the urge to problem-solve, to ‘provide perspective,’ to cheer someone up. Listen. Honor the other person’s feelings. And then when it’s your turn, share the impact this is having on you. Our honesty and vulnerability are gifts that we share with others, which gives them permission to do the same.” (Boots and Blessings, April 2)

Physician Janice Boughton reminded us that the pandemic “is a very long and challenging walk on the Appalachian trail, without all the company. It may seem hard but we’re going to get better at it and it will change. Oh the things we’re going to know in a month that we don’t know now! That was always true but we were too busy to notice. Pay attention and remember. These will be good stories to tell eventually.” (Why Is American Healthcare So Expensive, March 22)

The Rev. Keith Kron asked us to think about the stories that will be told about us, long after this is over: “You may want to wish it away. But never forget this month, these moments, will define the life you live, and how others live, and how we as a country will be known and remembered. (Facebook, April 1)