Something from Mary! August 2020

Recently I was blessed to have been able to visit the North Shore for a few days. Sleep and rest, read and relax, reduced phone reception, and the beautiful scenery of “up north.”

We hiked along the Gooseberry River, and did my favorite thing…. Sit on a rock and simply watch and listen to the river flowing.

The sun was bright and there were perfect ‘cloud watching’ clouds floating about sky. And a soft breeze that was just enough to cool off a hiker when they reached the right opening.

While I sat and listened to the river flow to and fro, ebb and flow, meandering from bend to bend, I noticed this plant growing from between some rocks. At some point a seed was planted, not on the shore, not in the woods, but caught on these rocks. Like many of us who landed in a situation we didn’t choose, this seed was hooked and rooted. As humans we have had to adapt to having less or more of any number of things these past months, but we’ve fought to thrive, instead of drowning in sadness, floating down the river of despair, or being taken away by a bug or meth alligators. Instead, we’ve swayed when the wind blew, locked our feet on firm foundations of faith and strength, and absorbed the gifts of rain and sun to help us grow and find joy.

This scene I watched made me first think of our Leadership Institute class which of course was impacted by these past months in an experience like no other class has. They, like you, have PIVOTED, yelled PLOT TWIST, ADAPTED, and MANAGED CHANGE after CHANGE.

As we graduated these 20 people, I asked them, as I ask you now, to consider Covid didn’t happen to you, but possibly for you. Did you just GASP?

I have watched MANY of YOU find strength you didn’t know you had. You have shared YOUR stories where you have found glory in the slowing down, gained a new hobby, and made life changes which have driven you to new opportunities.

While we re-count all the sad/bad/frustrating parts of 2020 to date, we SHOULD recount the moment we wouldn’t have had, or the times this has saved us from… oh for example…. hellacious heat and a crippling storm that would have taken down RiverSong. Let’s remember touching base with family more frequently, seeing my kids on ZOOM Bingo, or painting along with Tara while she painted on Friday nights as much as for herself as for us.

And as we have watched people lose family members during this time, with distance and regulations in place, we have learned what really matters to most of us: relationships.  Whether an extravert or introvert, sparkly or brooding, we all need people in our lives. So, as we continue to social distance, wear masks because we are asked to, (think seatbelts) and limit our interactions in the world, reach out to someone who may need a brownie, a meaningful quote, or a simple hello. Yes Bo, your brownies are famous. Replace the reaction of commenting/condemning on social media with, private messages of support or ask for an opportunity to discuss opposite sides. Let’s unite, Not separate.

I lend you my photo memory of that beautiful day along Gooseberry River, and the plant like you, bending in the wind, reaching for sunny days, and absorbing soft life-giving rains, in an ebb and flow season you didn’t expect to be, during a time of historical proportion. You are stronger and more resilient than you knew you were. Much like those we read about in history books, ordinary people doing extraordinary acts during extraordinary circumstances.