Another week is drawing to a close and it’s hard to tell what/if/how we know more. Things are shifting it seems, but some days it feels hard to imagine just where and when this ship is going to land. We shared around this topic on our Tuesday call, trying to engage in some visioning space around what “good” would look like when we reach the other side of this pandemic. Somehow casting specific vision around the future and bringing that to articulation felt good, and reminded us all of how different our individual positionality can be, as well as the context of each of our communities. Starting to think forward, even if it’s only articulating hopes and dreams at this point, feels like a necessary exercise while so much remains up in the air. In the meantime, here are some thoughts, ideas and information along the way:
*The specific struggles of distinct populations in the midst of this pandemic. This week a few pieces along these lines caught my eye: This one on the mental health crisis faced by American farmers trying to manage stock in the midst of a faultering food chain while maintaining their livelihood during the pandemic, as well as this article about the mental health of children specifically. I also see more news surfacing about both the economic and health ramifications of the pandemic in and among Native American communities. This article highlights the specific struggles facing the Navajo nation.
*Closer to home, KUT produced two pieces about how COVID is affecting construction workers in the community, as well as a piece on the disproportionate number of hospitalizations as a result of COVID among Latino populations, diving into the deeper and more complicated effect the virus has on communities of color in Austin, a trend mirrored nationally. This all seems relevant to our faith communities as we engage in responses that attend to the evolving needs of our cities and find creative ways to practice solidarity with and support for those near and far.
*Important to remember we always hold the power to share kindness often, hold those we can close, and practice generosity as best we can both near and far. This article is a surprising and beautiful read about the enduring kindness of two distant communities drown close over the CENTURIES through shared kindness.
*Perhaps you or someone in your community might have the capacity to join the growing corps of contact tracing volunteers that Austin needs as we move into the next phases of engaging the pandemic. You can learn more about what UT Health needs in and from volunteers (there is no direct contact with folks, but internet access is a must) by checking out their call for volunteers here.
*In the midst of so much to do and so much change and new information coming our way, it can be easy to ignore our own feelings as they arise. In our household, besides combatting exhaustion and frustration with what is beginning to seem like a marathon haul, waves of anger and irritability also seem to be on the rise. This TED talk on the upside of anger, and why it can ultimately be a healthy emotion, was helpful food for thought.
*In this time of distancing, it seems more important than ever to strengthen the basic art of conversation for ourselves and our communities, particularly after the last decade of technological rise which has been less than conducive for true conversation building. This article from Bloomberg highlights three different perspectives on the importance of good conversation, and ways we can practice and enhance our art, even remotely.
*Personally, I’m ready to do a little summer dreaming, even if those dreams may never come to fruition. And National Geographic agrees. Check out this article where they claim that planning a future trip may be more important than ever.
*Take a cue from these retirees and find a way to capitalize on something you love, particularly if it connects you to other people. Read about their inspiring turn as DJs on pirate radio here. And just for fun, here’s a direct link to their show, Radio Recliner.
*Like many of us, if travel in the next few months just isn’t on the horizon, plumb your own soul for new terrain this summer by joining this online adventure we designed for folks navigating transition at any stage in life. It will be a journey worth taking!
Regardless of where we end up, it’s always a pleasure traveling with you all. Here is a beautiful poem for travelers of all sort to send you off into your weekend: Blessing of the Boats by Lucille Clifton.
May your Sabbath be full of rest, and your sails always full-