Dear WUUC Community,

In the second half of May, Emily and I took Natalie on vacation through Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas to see my parents and Emily’s parents. We call it the Grandparent tour of 2021.

In the last few days of work before vacation started, I was trying to complete all of the church-related tasks I had on my to-do list so I could be distraction-free during our trip. However, as the last day of work arrived, I realized there was still more to do than I would be able to get done that day; so I decided that I would spend the first few days of vacation “wrapping up loose ends.” Well, as tasks often do, finishing one created another, and I never did get everything done that I had on my list. In fact, it got longer, not shorter.

A week into the vacation, I realized how the unfinished work was affecting my family. Not only was my to-do list keeping me from being with them, but even when I set the work aside, I was still distracted and thinking about what I needed to get done. It prevented me from being fully present with my family.

When I realized what was happening, I set the list aside, truly for (most of) the rest of our vacation. And I’m so glad I did. I got to see Natalie bond with all of her grandparents, try guacamole (she liked it!), learn to drink from a straw, and meet a cat for the first time. I got to be part of these precious moments because I put the list aside and decided to be present.

All too often, I find myself caught in the daily to-do list of tasks and deadlines. I find this is especially true in our approach to church work, teams, and committees. On the one hand, it is important to do the things we set out to do, the things we decide are important. Some of these tasks are the things that make our community sustainable. But sometimes it’s worth pausing and reflecting to decide if the deadlines we’re facing are truly necessary, or if they are self-imposed and more flexible than we believe them to be.

What happens if the annual meeting is in June instead of May? What if we take a month longer to finish a project, but it allowed us to bring someone to the table who wasn’t there before, and whose perspective was needed? What if a meeting was an opportunity to do something together, rather than a gathering to get something done? Can it be both?

Is our community oriented more toward getting stuff done, or about getting along? Can we find ways for the “doing” to enhance the “being”? We don’t have to choose “either or.” This is one of those “both and” situations. And striking the balance between doing and being is the business of being human. So let’s practice together, right here in our community. Let’s practice being present as much as we can, to each other and ourselves, right where we are, right in the moment. And maybe we can even get some stuff done in the process.

Peace and Blessings,