Dance with gratitude into the new year
From the Pastor's Desk
January 2, 2021
At midnight on December 31, 2019, I celebrated the arrival of a new year with my family at Disneyland. It was glorious!
There was a concert and fake snow and lots of twinkly lights. I'd never celebrated New Year's Eve at Disneyland, with huge crowds and jacked up holiday prices, but my sister and my niece had both become widows in 2019 and we were happy to be with them and all a bit eager to see such a difficult year end. We had every hope that 2020 would certainly be much better. Little did we know what was in store.
It's been quite a year...not as difficult for my family as the year before, but for many families a nightmare as they have lost loved ones, businesses and their incomes. My prayers are with so many families who have suffered loss. Each life matters, but sadly, the vast numbers make it nearly impossible for us to grasp what has been happening.
In my professional training, I have been certified to lead people whose loved ones have died. It is a rare, blessed honor to walk with someone experiencing deep loss. It is a journey we all will experience at some point, and for me, it seems like the Divine is just a bit closer during these transition times. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell stories of strange, unusual things that happened in the passing of their loved ones. The Divine has shown up in some remarkable ways.
One thing I have learned is that people and families handle grief differently. Some families fall apart and each member is left coping on their own. Sometimes there is anger and hatred expanding slight rifts into deep, unforgivable chasms. Other families pull together and dance in the new year at Disneyland. I am grateful that my family has accepted and allowed what comfort we have to offer.
Sadly, our nation is not coming together to grieve and comfort one another. There is anger, blame, selfishness and denial of the deep pain of others. Hatred of political figures and political opponents is blinding us to the needs of health workers, front-line responders and grieving families. Yet, there are many Good Samaritans working diligently to do what they can. We each have a choice whether we will be part of the solution or part of the problem. We can work together or we can add to the harm. Each day, each moment, we get to choose in the small choices we make.
My prayer for your New Year is that you will dance and celebrate with gratitude whatever you can do to ease someone else's suffering. I won't be in Tehachapi to watch what happens. I am making a transition myself, retiring from my position as pastor at Tehachapi Community Church at the end of 2020. This will be my last article for The Loop, however, a new transitional minister awaits to take my place and she is delightful. I thank you for the friendship you have shown me and I hope you will find plenty to dance about and celebrate in the coming year!
About Tehachapi Community Church, UCC:
No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!
The Tehachapi Community Church, UCC is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person's unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.
We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. During the current pandemic things are a bit different. Please call us at (661) 822-4443 to confirm the plans for the upcoming Sunday. Feel free to visit us online http://www.tcccucc.org.