(A spring scene from Jan’s neighborhood)

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.
Exodus 14:1

Dear Friends,

We are in Eastertide! What does new life look like while we’re hunkering down in self-protection? 

The above spring scene is from my neighborhood. I know many of you live near gorgeous natural spaces, just a short walk outside your door. I hope you are continuing to safely venture out each day. My daily walk with John keeps me grounded. What helps with any anxiety you may be experiencing?

Brene’ Brown writes in her blog Unlocking Us about how we can rise day by day from our anxiety and dark emotions during this time. Brene’ suggests we try to settle into a new normal while grieving the loss of “normal.” In typical Brene’ fashion, she suggests we name our fears and not ignore them, because when we acknowledge our emotions, we can walk through them. Even though others in this pandemic may have it worse than we do, as Brene’ says, “We don’t have to withhold our feelings of fear to be empathetic to others.”

When we are exhausted or emotionally taxed, there is a tendency to put up some blocks to intimacy. It seems like it helps us conserve energy. But it is possible to share our kindness, love and empathy to one another, even when we’re feeling cranky and impatient. We don’t need to ration our love – there is plenty to go around!  

In our phone calls with loved ones, or with those in our own household, we can check in regularly with one another – “How are you, really?” If one of us is having a tough time, another of us can help close the gap of strength and calm. We can lean on one another. Reach out and call a church friend to hear their voice and ask how they are coping – this will be helpful to you too. 

Brene’ suggests that in our families, it’s possible to acknowledge you are in different places and help each other “close the gap” in mental health by taking over the next meal preparation or discovering a new activity together. Brene suggests: “no harsh words, no nice words with harsh faces (😊), say you’re sorry, accept apologizes with thank you, more puns and knock knock jokes!

What a training ground for practicing Resurrection! And it’s not all up to us. Being still, walking in nature, praying and meditating – all give us a fighting chance to rise each day with God’s help.

Blessings to you and yours,

Jan

Pastor Jan Reynolds

For self-care and mental health, subscribe to: 

Brene Brown – Unlocking Us

Brené on Anxiety, Calm + Over / Under – Functioning

FOR YOUR SOLACE AND COMFORT…

A moving video of a teen daughter and her father singing “The Prayer”:


A Poem: Kindness (Excerpts)
by Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under the Words

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness…

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend

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