Love Offers a Balm for the Weary

I’m tired. I’m exhausted as this pandemic stretches on, no end in sight. I miss hugging people. I miss spending time with friends. I miss moving about the world, free from fear and anxiety of this disease. And though my hands are full of all things fire recovery—including figuring out how to rebuild our sanctuary—I’m deeply grieving that more than 4,000 people died yesterday; more than 4,000 the day before. The relentless death tears my soul, and I know it’s tearing yours as well.
I’ve heard from so many of you: You’re bone-tired, too. You’re lonely. You crave physical touch. You miss acquaintances—casual yet love-filled interactions that used to populate our lives and world. You’re cooped up with children in too-small a space. You live alone, within walls that feel like they’re closing. You struggle with depression—or feel giddy and manic from the strain. You’re clinging to sobriety, or drinking more than you’d like. You don’t know how many more months you can take. And I want you to know: However this finds you—whatever you’re holding—if you’re struggling, it’s not your fault. We are all experiencing trauma, and navigating it as best we can.
And I’m so proud of the way that you continue to love one another through it all: creating virtual community, singing together from a distance, finding ways to carve little pockets of love amid devastating circumstances. It’s your love that reminds me: God is with us, because God is love. Moving beside us, and through us, reassuring that one day we will leave this wilderness.
And I want you to know that the ministers and staff at Middle see everything you’re holding, too. So we’re going to dedicate particular focus on caring for our community in the coming months. I’m excited to announce today that on Monday, Rev. Darrell Hamilton will officially be a part of our team full-time as our Executive Minister for Operations and Resource Development. He’ll be helping a lot with how we resource our fire recovery, and will be an active part of caring for our human resources—YOU! (Click here or on his photo below to learn more about the beautiful gifts he brings our community)
We’re also planning some new opportunities to gather together. Next Thursday, February 4, at 8:00 p.m. we’re partnering with our friends at the East End Temple for Humanizing Pandemic Parenting, a conversation that will name and speak love into the particular strains parents are enduring. So come for a moment to commiserate with others, and share tips that are helping you make it through. Then—as part of our Black History Month celebrations—we’re going to host a new series For the Love of Black Literature. This weekly salon will feature different members of the congregation reading aloud from one of their favorite Black writers. Together, we’ll revel in their words, knowing that it’s impossible to love Black people without listening to and learning from Black voices. And you can always look at our virtual schedule for other opportunities to gather!
And, come Sunday, I’ll be preaching on “Cleaning House with Fierce Love,” because God knows we need that, too. Join us at 11:45 a.m. ET.
But, in all of this, please know: You’re not alone. We’re here for you, and you can always reach out to us if you need care, because that’s what it means to be a family. We’re going to get through this together!
I love you so much,
P.S. Part of what love looks like is making sure everyone possible gets vaccinated—and making sure we’re on the front lines of ensuring the most at risk are vaccinated first! Click here to email Governor Cuomo or the Governor of whichever state you live in to prioritize incarcerated people in their plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations. Consult this page for information on when you can receive a vaccine, and email Rev. Amanda if you need a buddy to help you book your vaccine appointment!
P.P.S. And if the people in your world are hurting, share this email with them as part of our care plan.