About the School News…

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Hello friends…I don’t know about you, but my heart sank with the news this evening. It was different than how it sank the last time they announced we’d be going all online. Because then, it was hard – OK, impossible – but it was temporary. But this time….the second time in 6 months we’ve gotten the news that our kids would be moving to all-online home-based learning experience – can you believe this crazy time we are living in?! This time, it was different.

Like a lot of you, my family has agonized over the return to in-person school, especially as our County and State infections rise – at higher rates than back then. And, as the stories come in from other schools and camps with outbreaks across the country, it’s terrifying. For the kids, and parents, and staff.

So, part of the sinking feeling this time is relief.

And yet paired with that grief, is the increasing sense that this time, the end is much less clear. The sinking feeling this time is still grief, and anger, and overwhelm, and shock – all the feelings, really – but at a new level.

And what I really wanted to reach out and say tonight is that you are not alone. Whatever you’re feeling, however you’re dealing, you’re not alone.

I know it can feel like it. I know, we’ve been pushed into our collective corners to struggle and grieve and deal and fail and try to make sense of what makes no sense – all by ourselves.

But that’s not the real truth. The real truth is that you have community and companions and people who love you and who are rooting for you and your family. Some of them you’ve already met, and know well; a bunch of others you haven’t met yet. Some of their hearts sink for exactly the same reason yours does; some are a little, or a lot different.

The connecting thread is that we’re all feeling all these feelings in response to this moment, and we all want and need not just to “get by” in this time, but to imagine that we could grow, and deepen, and strengthen our families, our sense of self, our communities. To imagine that we could look back at this time and think – that was when we grew into the people we always longed to be.

I know, it’s a big thing to imagine. And, if we return to our corners in this moment and get immediately into survival mode (remember then!), and a sense that we have to figure it out on our own– we’ll never get there.

But if on the other hand, if we can remember the truth that we are not actually alone in this, but connected in a great community all struggling and also all rooting for each other, then maybe we can bring our collective creativity and collective courage to the table, and in small acts of great love, imagine our way to something new.

Which is why I want ask for two things:

  • First, light a candle at some point in the next 24 hours. Light a candle, and imagine all the other families and children and school staff who are in this school year with you and your family. And say out loud, or in your heart, I am with you. I am rooting for you. You are not alone. Imagine all the other families out there lighting their candle, and saying that back to you.
  • And then second, check in. Check in using our weekly text we send out. Or check in with your Circle buddy or Zoom. Or check in when we hold our next parent gathering (the next one is on Thursday night, August 6). Or check in by calling up someone you suspect might be one of those who are rooting for you and your family and tell them how you’re doing. Find a way to check in, and then keep checking in. Feel in those check ins the way you are a part of a community beyond those you know personally, a community where love is the spirit, and where we’ve promised to journey together through all of life, especially those parts where none of us know the way forward.

Glennon Doyle talks about how we can do hard things. I feel like a lot of times we focus on the “can” and “hard” part of that statement. But in this moment, I’m realizing that the most important word is “we.” We can do hard things – because we’re in this together.

I’m off to light my candle for you. I am with you. I am rooting for you. You are not alone.

With big love,

Rev. Gretchen