If I can channel the inspiration behind Ben and Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia”… “lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been”. A year ago, I was a long-term guest of the Candlewood Suites over by Carrier Circle in Syracuse. I’d drive back to Maryland for a few days every week or so to reconnect with my spouse and cat (not in that order!) and then return to my hotel and the work of being a brand-new Resource Presbyter. Those trips were exhausting, especially through Pennsylvania (our family jokes that whenever we’re on a trip, it’s as if we are always half-way through PA.)
How do you while away the hours on a road trip? I’m fond of singing out loud (windows rolled down, of course!) everything from show tunes to bawdy 18th c. camp songs. No doubt I am offering entertainment and amusement for my fellow pilgrims on the road. Five hours each way also offered plenty of time to dream about the challenges that awaited me in Syracuse. So much work to do and such good people to do that work with? I was filled with hope.
And now? After over five months of physical distancing?
Still filled with hope.
Here is why: God hasn’t changed. In many ways, the work we are called to do hasn’t changed. What has changed are the tools we use to do that work as well as the urgency. There has been a bit of an unveiling during these COVID times; a revealing of sorts. We’re learning together what we really value, as well as what we might put aside.
When I first started here I quoted J. Gordon Kingsley who wrote that leaders…”need to learn the song of the tribe in order to sing the song of the tribe so that others can find their place in the song and then, together, write the next verse”. This pandemic hasn’t changed that. Together we are beginning to hear old and new voices that are looking for where they fit in the song…. And again, I am filled with hope. As those voices are lifted up and we sing this song together, we will write the next verse. I don’t know what the future holds, or what that next verse will be, but I am confident we will write it and sing it together.
(With the windows rolled down, of course.)