Sunday, August 22, 2021

Summer 2021: Things Fall Apart

This morning, I reflected back on the month of August as a month where I came to realize--once again, and over and over again--how much of the world seems to be held together with tape and a patchwork of chewing gum and maybe a thin veneer of paint here and there.  But frankly, the whole summer has felt that way, and perhaps this whole pandemic time, and maybe it has always been this way, but many of us can go for months or years before we're forced to reckon with this knowledge again.

Humans like to think that we're in control, and many of us will go to great lengths to maintain that illusion.  For me, this summer has brought week after week of almost daily reminders that we're not.  Those reminders have ranged from the small to the huge, from the personal to the global.

When I think of the early days of June, I remember a time when it seemed that we might be turning a corner with the COVID-19 crisis.  Vaccination rates continued to chug along, and we finished a K-12 school year with few student deaths and not as many outbreaks as I would have predicted.  The world at large seemed calm--or am I remembering it wrong?

Then the condo building in Surfside Beach, just south of here, collapsed, and suddenly, it seemed that more buildings than we'd have expected have serious structural issues.  And here we are, two months later, and it begins to feel like all of our foreign policy has collapsed and lies in ruins.  The domestic political situation has felt like rubble for over a decade now, so that's not anything new.

This month has been particularly difficult at work.  We've had several days with no AC in part of the building, we've had an AC unit leak in the server room, and this week, unrelated to that leak, we've had a total lack of technology.  It's been a month where I've been moving from a house to a condo, and tried to get the house ready for the market, and that has come with some surprises.  It's exhausting.  It's no wonder I'm feeling a certain amount of stress.

Yesterday I got access to one of my seminary classes, and as I explored the course shell, I had conflicting thoughts.  The larger part of me thought, OK, this is doable.  The fearful part of me thought, what on earth am I thinking?  

I met with my small group for my certificate program in spiritual directing.  We check in with each other when we first log onto the Zoom meeting.  I said, "I feel like I'm holding everything together, but I also feel like I'm teetering.  I tell myself, 'Keep looking straight ahead--don't look down!'"

Don't look down--it's what a yoga teacher told me long ago.  Keep your focus on a distant spot, and it's easier to keep your balance.  

May we all be able to keep our balance.

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