As my kids have gotten older, we’ve learned to accept that whatever they want to watch on the internet, they are going to watch. It’s a little like when I was younger and my friends who didn’t have TVs would come over and want to watch TV the whole time. You just can’t stop teenage curiosity and ingenuity.
So instead of trying to lock down devices entirely, we have reminded them to ask themselves, “Is this really something you want to see? Because you can’t unsee it once you’ve seen it.”
Now, after they’ve made a choice to watch something they regret, they’ll say to me, Oh no, now I can’t unsee it!
And in this moment I feel both a twinge of parental pride, as well as a deep compassion and sympathy. Especially lately. Because lately, there have been many, many things I wish I could unsee.
The challenge in times like we’re in – overwhelming times, anxious times – however, is not to try to “unfollow” the painful or difficult realities around us. Because checking out would mean missing out on being a part of the healing and the transforming – in ourselves, and in the world.
Instead, times like these ask us to build the habits, and develop the inner fortitude to manage the anxiety and stress that arise when we stay present, honestly with reality, as it actually is: Heartbreaking. Overwhelming. Breathtakingly beautiful. Generous. Surprising. Still unfolding.
In our corner of reality this week, we got some news that I wish I could unsee…. Tanner Linden let us know that he has accepted a full-time position with the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the largest UU congregation, and the organization he’s been with for the last few years.
We are all really disappointed to be cut short on our time with Tanner – and also, after we all took those orienting deep breaths we’ve been practicing, we also are so glad for him and for Unitarian Universalism that he has this chance to do such important work. You can read more about his news in his letter here. And look for information on what’s next for the Foothills staff team in the coming weeks.
Whatever reality you’re trying to meet today, and whatever you’re wishing you could unsee – I hope you’ll join us this Sunday so we can keep practicing together. Alongside a few special guests from around Fort Collins, we will be exploring what happens when our reality comes into contact with another’s vastly different reality. I hope you’ll join us, at 9 or 11 – details below.
With love, and in partnership.