The sun and warm temperatures arrived not a second too soon. Both the clergy and lay leaders are exhausted. The political anxiety in the country and in the world has taken its toll. We want respite, a time out, reassurance, and renewed perspectives. We want a break from it all.

My sabbatical gave me respite, time out, reassurance, and renewal. A much-needed break from it all. That is a privilege I will be forever grateful for. And I am saddened that such time is the exception rather than the norm for people in any profession or stage of life. Everyone is deserving of such time and opportunity.

The Rev. Galen Guengerich, minister of All Souls in New York City, wrote a piece on the value of vacation:

A vacation is a time to empty our lives of the routine experiences which we have come to take for granted, and to replace them with new experiences which we don’t take for granted. If successful, this process once again piques our interest in the life around us. We notice in a new way the play of light and shadow, the smell of the marsh and the pleasure of conversation, the sound of laughter and the feel of raindrops. We have time to think big thoughts, pay careful attention, and ponder things we can never comprehend. Energized by this new appreciation for the world around us, we then return to our everyday lives to find old routines transformed by our new attentiveness.

 As we approach summer with its sun, warmth, and longer days, my hope is that folks will find ways to make a vacation out of moments or days or weekends or even months. That we will find time to simply sit for a moment in the sun with our eyes closed, listening to whatever sounds might be all around us. That we might rise early because of the light and go outside to breathe the morning air, see the day breaking, the birds awakening. That we might sit for a moment under the night sky and allow the darkness to surround us. I hope that we do these things not just to “think big thoughts” but to “pay careful attention” that we might know that beauty lives right alongside suffering.

Summer is such a time for paying attention with all of our senses and sensibilities. Every day brings some new emergence or growth in gardens. There is much to be surprised by. The languid heat allows us to stretch out into a slowness. Slowness allows us to sigh and breath. Our breath brings awareness. Awareness creates a space for us to be in.

May these summer months be ones of transformation for your spirits…

Peace, Shalom, Salaam,

Rev. Lo

Rev. Lo will be on vacation July 1- 26 and will be joining the WUUC Camp Out at Deception Pass. She can be reached for emergencies through the church office.