One Story, Several Opportunities to Connect, and Lots of Grace

From Ashleigh Rhodes, Co-Director of Religious Life:

When the announcement came on Thursday that the schools were closed, I admit that my first reaction, even though I knew it was coming, was to feel frozen. Despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t adjust. My husband is a planner – his first instinct was that the children needed to be on a schedule as soon as possible, that we needed to just make a plan and do it. But I couldn’t plan and I couldn’t think ahead.

Partly it was that I realized I was right back in the boat I had been last summer when my husband was deployed – trying to work while being sole caregiver for three small children. It was terribly hard and isolating last summer – it is both harder and easier now that everyone else is in the same boat! There is no one to ask for help, but other people are experiencing the same thing I am. We are all isolated in this together.

Partly it is that the situation is changing daily. When we are hearing so much about “flattening the curve,” it’s hard not to feel anxious waiting to see where the curve goes.

My children’s school has bent over backward to try to do what they can – the children all got binders of work with school supplies, and there have been many e-mails. There have been emails with videos of the director of the school reading books. I keep telling myself I will sit down and sort through the e-mails, but here it is Friday and I still haven’t done that.

That doesn’t even mention the sheer number of resources suddenly available not connected to my children’s school. Many things that were completely unaccessible to me as a parent suddenly are available – you can stream the opera from all over the world. You can do virtual tours of museums. Lots of resources that used to cost money are free at the moment. However, sorting out what is available and when feels overwhelming.

Marie and I, just like my children’s teachers, were eager to share and collect these resources, because we want to be helpful. But I personally don’t want to add to anyone’s sense of overwhelm.

So I have only one resource for you I want to highlight. This video Marie found of the story “The Invisible String.” The message seems particularly helpful right now, when we may all be feeling disconnected and lost.

Outside of that video I will highlight the new St. John’s CommUUnity Facebook group as an opportunity to share what you are enjoying right now, as well as photos of whatever growing things you have in your life. We will make sure there is a file in that group that collects everyone’s ideas.

Please also look in the rest of the E-News for new classes and opportunities to connect and reflect, and reach out to if you would like another time or other topic. Are you interested in facilitating a virtual book group? Let us know. Lastly, visit with us in the digital coffee hour on Sunday, even if you can just check in for a few minutes.

This is a massive adjustment for all of us. I am sending wishes that whether you have kids at home like I do, you are trying to work from home, or you are trying to keep busy with a suddenly empty calendar, that you give yourself grace and some patience. We are thinking of you.

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