The title of this week’s letter reminds me of summer vacations we would take with my family when I was a kid. My aunt was a year-round resident of Sandwich, MA; her modest cape home looked out over the beautiful salt marsh and boardwalk, and the stunning town beach was a short walk away. Many Thanksgiving Day meals were also enjoyed in this magical place.
We would pile into the car and make the 2-hour trek from Rhode Island. Inevitably, we would be moaning “Are we there yet?” about 60 minutes in, somewhere along Rt 195 East. Cape Code traffic was also horrible then.
Last week, I was fortunate to be able to enjoy a vacation with my husband Brett in Ogunquit, Maine – an annual event for us that we ended up cancelling last year because of the pandemic. It was good to be back and to try to unplug and relax, with mixed results. I was so hopeful at the beginning of the summer as many things in our lives were opening up and resembling something more familiar. To be honest, that hope has been tempered by the pandemic’s seemingly relentless presence. So here we are, approaching the middle of August, and I’m asking the question “Are we there yet?”
In response to the Hebrew Bible reading from this past Sunday’s services, Rev. Nick preached about grief. Over the course of this year, he has been encouraging us to be open to experiencing grief and sharing it with each other. His terrific sermon (click here if you haven’t heard it) was another opportunity for us to ponder how grief touches our lives and can lead us to a closer relationship with God and with each other.
Before the pandemic, I would often read at bedtime and over the course of a weekend. That habit shifted – we replaced our bedtime reading with Compline, weekend routines changed, and so on. As a result, I ended up with a “book pile” that was collecting dust. On top of the pile was a partially read novel Abide with Me, by Elizabeth Strout, which I finished last week while on vacation. The next book in the pile is Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by Bishop Michael Curry. I’m halfway through this wonderful book, and for me, some of that lost hope I mentioned above is being restored. Bishop Curry writes, “The purpose of this book is to explain what the way of love looks like, even as we walk it in a world that feels at times closer to a nightmare than to the dream.”
This pandemic journey is taking longer than expected. While it tries our patience as we continue to adjust, I am confident in God’s love, and thankful to be on this journey with all of you.
May God bless us and keep us!