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Thinking of you

From Pam Foster, Director of Pastoral Care

I thought about you today. I was standing in my front yard looking at my daffodils peeking through (one of my favorite things!) and I thought about you. 

The you who has been in my office expressing gratitude for having a job. The you who cried with joy over how many families were helped with Holiday Benevolence. I thought about the many of you whose faces I miss seeing; the you who talks about missing hugs; the you who is sad that your elder family members are lonely. I saw the beginnings of yellow on the long green stems in my lawn and I thought about you. 

I thought about what we were doing last year at this time. I remember thinking this would just be like a really bad influenza. I remember one of the administrators saying we would be done with the quarantine by Easter and we all nodded our heads in agreement. I thought about all the students who missed graduations and never dreamt that they would be having remote learning for a whole year. My heart holds so many of you: you who are living alone and lonely; you who are parenting and working and being supportive of so many. 

Being connected to other humans is one of our deepest longings. Some of us need more humans to connect with than others, but we all need that connection. Without out it we feel burdened, tired, anxious – sometimes just plain icky. Still, many of us are reluctant to connect. We feel fearful. 

Recent research reveals that many of us are experiencing major pandemic fatigue. "​We've been at this for a year now and our 'fight or flight' system – the emotional reaction to stress t​hat has been otherwise energizing us throughout the pandemic – is totally overloaded. When that happens, the constant flow of adrenaline starts to drain and apathy settles in. It seems that we've all gone over that tipping point."[1] 

So, I'm thinking about you.  I'm holding you close in my heart and in my prayers. I'm imagining your faces without your masks and seeing your smiles. I'm holding my box of Kleenex for your tears. And I join you in hoping and longing and waiting. Please remember that our employee assistance program is available, free of cost, and confidential.​ 

I close with this prayer from Fr. Richard Rohr: 

Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts' longing for the healing of our suffering world. Knowing, Good God that you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.

[1] “It's Not just you.  A lot of us are hitting a pandemic wall right now." by Julia Ries; Huffpost 02/04/2021