I know that the first week in July has been when we officially turn the corner to “real summer” here in the Seattle area. Everywhere else I have lived in my life, you would describe the month of July with words like “blistering,” “muggy,” “humid,” “oppressively hot,” and “please turn on a fan.” Here instead, my memories of July are like a breath where the sun comes out. Having beautiful temperate weather without humidity and bugs is my idea of heaven.
However, I know most years this pull outdoors might involve trips, excursions, picnics, or only a moderate amount of courage needed to use public restrooms. This year, you can feel in the air that anxiety as we all learn to wear masks most of the time and play the gentle dance of stepping aside for one another on sidewalks. There are so many stressors that folks are facing, as they look at bank accounts and turn every outing into a risk assessment. Many are looking at the fall and wishing we could go back to life as normal. At the same time, we are holding our nation’s ongoing sins of racism and praying that we have the courage to change what for too long has been normal.
When folks get very anxious, often we fall back on the patterns that we know well. If we are conflict avoidant, we can bury our heads in the sand. If we argue, we can pick a side and fight it to the end. If we know our identity as one who sacrifices for others, we can overstep what is needed. If we are defensive, our ears can close to what we need to hear. In our nation our conversation around reopening seems to be a Scylla and Charybdis choice between bodily safety and economic security. In our ongoing racial injustice, people with privilege have the habit of ending conversation when it becomes too real or uncomfortable.
All of which is to say, this might be a moment to stop and breathe.
Let the sun shine on you.
Even if you are not where you hoped to be in this moment, stop and breathe deeply, and find the beauty that is nestled within.
All of the potentials and the crisis of this moment, need you to respond from the place of most centeredness. You are invited in this moment to listen and to hear. You are invited to remember who you are and who God is. Take a deep breath and feel your feet on the ground, on the earth that curves beneath your feet. You are not alone here. You are surrounded by the Spirit of God, who is even now, whispering potentials that you might not have seen, calling forth leaders to speak the truth, and inviting us into greater justice than this land has known for generations. Stop and breathe, so that instead of reacting you are ready to respond with courage and love.
May God meet us here and invite us into what will come.