Rev. Sharon Wylie – Minister’s Message for January, 2023

Happy New Year!

The pandemic might not be fully behind us yet, but things are very different than they were this time last year. In December 2021, we held our first “spirit booster” social gathering on our courtyard, and Christmas Eve was our first multi-platform service (in-person and online) in our chapel. (The omicron spike forced us back online for a while, but soon enough we were worshipping in our chapel again.)

These events were meaningful and joyful, and they were also a bit nerve-wracking. Being together in-person again was like starting to work with muscles we hadn’t used in quite a while. We felt rickety and uncertain, ill at ease. Saturday Night Live made jokes about how awkward it felt to be social in-person again.

But now it’s a year later, and those of us who started gathering in-person a year ago are starting to feel more natural about it, right? It doesn’t feel so awkward and clumsy as it did in the beginning. The newness of being in person has worn off, and we feel pretty normal, actually. We aren’t thinking about it much these days.

And…remember that we aren’t all on the same timeline of returning to in-person gatherings. Not everyone feels safe being out and about yet. We have many congregants who are still being VERY careful because they are in a high-risk category, or because they have loved ones in a high-risk category.

And we have some congregants who just started doing things in-person again more recently, maybe over the summer, or maybe just a week ago. For some of us, being out and about feels pretty natural. For some of us, staying at home still feels like the best choice. And some of us are in between, starting to go out and do things, but also still feeling a little rusty and uncertain.

I’m writing this to invite you to be aware that everyone’s on a different timeline, especially if you are one of the people who is starting to find a “new normal.” Not everybody’s there yet! And that’s okay, but I think it’s the work of those who are feeling the most comfortable to remember to be thoughtful of and gentle with those who are just starting to venture out.

Hopefully, 2023 will be the year that we all find our way to a new normal.

Blessings and love to you,