By Chaplain Resident Alyssa Muehmel
It’s sunny and 75 degrees where I am today. The official first day of summer is just around the corner, and I find myself limping out of spring into this new season. As is likely the case for you, this winter was a hard one for me. It was painful, lonely, scary, cold (I hate the cold, maybe that’s just a me problem) and seemed to drag on.
One of my favorite authors, Kate Bowler, writes blessings on her social media for everyday events. She titled her most recent blessing “A Blessing for a Gentle Summer”. As I read it, I felt my shoulders drop and myself exhale. I am in desperate need of a gentle summer and, after the last 15 months, perhaps you are as well. A portion of the blessing reads:
“We are wondering…what just happened? The tragedy on slow-release, the shock of sudden outrage, the variants of unusual size, the sweet sense that normal maybe isn’t obsolete. We are wondering…what could happen? We are at a threshold, a season that holds liminal space for what was, and what might be.”
It occurred to me that in this inbetween space with COVID not yet over, but slowing down as people receive vaccines, we might be hit even harder with the grief that has been piling up all year. We are all in need of gentleness.
So at the threshold of summer, how can you be gentle with yourself and others? Maybe this means letting yourself rest instead of doing one more house project, or going to one more social event. Maybe it means being understanding when a friend doesn’t have energy to see you, even though it’s been SO long. Maybe it means being patient with yourself when grief hits, even when you think you’re “supposed” to feel happy. In this gentleness, maybe there is room to hope. I am hopeful for a time coming that doesn’t feel so heavy. What are you hopeful for today?