First, THANK YOU! To all of you who have sent pictures of your feet on Holy Ground in this wilderness, thank you. I have laughed and cried and just breathed deeply with each photo that has come along. It’s been purely joyful.
Second, we are beyond thrilled to share that 23 of you have stepped up to call one another, and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. We tried to be as expansive as possible with our contacts, but if someone comes to your mind who might need a call, please don’t hesitate- call!
From these phone calls, we have learned of many prayers among us. Many of us have friends and
loved ones who are struggling with COVID-19, whether they’ve been tested or not. A growing number of you are feeling the economic effects of this crisis. There are job losses, bankruptcies, furloughs, and layoffs among us. Some of you were affected by the flooding earlier this week. Others are grieving not being able to see family and friends – especially elders and the littlest ones among us. We are feeling the burden and joy of e-learning. We are navigating close quarters with our spouses and family members and pets, and it’s not always pretty. We’re just being honest, Friends. We’re in it for the long haul, and honesty matters. Please know that Becca and I are praying for each of you, by name, and we will hold your prayers with the care and love that they deserve. Do NOT hesitate to share what is affecting you; we cannot do this alone.
By way of an update and a moment of sacred mystery, here are two additional pictures of Becca and me. We are finding new ways to pastor in this time, and what continues to surface is our deep love for this community and for each of you.
That’s Becca’s latest Holy Ground… her feet, in slippers, mis-matching Harry Potter socks, on her rainbow doormat made of old lobster trap rope. Beautifully fitting, isn’t it?
And here is my latest.
I wore out my last pair of slippers, so I just bought these new ones. I’ll be honest: I bought the cheapest ones that were available in the brand that I need to wear to help my foot issue from about a year ago. And then, just for fun, I looked up the meaning of the panda bear as a spirit animal. I mean, yes, this was a clearance purchase, but maybe, just maybe, there was a message?
Indeed. “The panda is a symbol of determination and safety. It sometimes shows up when you are searching for a balanced and peaceful life.” What?!? That’s totally me right now amid this COVID-19 pandemic. “The Panda is a powerful spirit animal that symbolizes peace and gentle strength. You are likely a very firm and determined person, but you are also gentle.” Again, really? That is what I have been telling myself for a while now… be calm, strong, and vulnerable. “The Panda is calm and determined, so you will be able to wait as long as it is necessary to achieve your goals. The Panda as a spirit animal also symbolizes how important are personal boundaries of each person.” Seriously. I can hardly take it at this point. Personal boundaries are important? In this time of social-distancing? I have never known this to be more true and/or more painful.
Go on, Panda...
“Almost all people feel compassion and love when they see a panda, either alive or on television.” Or on feet. “The panda appearance might be a sign that you should nurture yourself and your loved people more.” Yep. That’s what I’ve been feeling quite acutely during this wilderness season. “Wisdom is also one of the traits typical for the Panda. When there is a problem, the Panda will stay calm and determined. It is known that the Panda also symbolizes peace and harmony.” I’m trying, Friends. I’m trying to stay calm and determined. It’s wise counsel, even from slippers.
And finally, “One of the most important traits of a panda bear is patience. Pandas are patience enough to wait for what they want… bamboo. The Panda has to wait a few years for the bamboo to start to grow. If a Panda appears in your life, you should slow down. There’s no need to rush in your relationships or in your work. You should do things slowly and think well before you say or do something.” Perfect. I am right back at “Be still and know…” from the Bible. Right where I need to be.
You might think this is absolutely bizarre. You might think this is absolutely beautiful. I’m just going with it. I’m taking note where my feet are in this wilderness of COVID-19, and my feet are now in Panda slippers… because they were cheap, but maybe more so because I needed to learn from the wisdom of the Panda.
The Sacred shows up in interesting places, Friends. Be open to it.
We close with this encouragement: this is the beginning of Spring Break for many people. Some of you are mourning trips not taken or adventures that have had to be set aside. We encourage you to still take the break if at all possible. All the rest to come and allow the interruption to reveal sacred mysteries all around.