What I Can Say? I don’t know. I know. No. Yes.


71ZaiJTp0+LThere is so much uncertainty, overwhelming fear, and disconnection during this global pandemic, that I am resolving to remain more curious than certain.  I hope to spend these weeks considering all the big questions, but I also have to live with contentment so that I don’t lose my mind in the process.

Inspired by Kelly Corrigan’s brilliant, Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say, here’s what I’m learning that I can say to keep me grounded and free.

Here are some things I am saying “I don’t know (and neither does anyone else)” to …

  • How long this will last.
  • Which days will be hardest.
  • How this will impact our children.
  • Where our koi went.
  • How long the crayfish (from our oldest’s 3rd-grade class) will make it before they eat each other.
  • How this will change the church.

In the face of uncertainty, here are things I can say “I know” to …

  • This is hard.
  • This will not last forever.
  • This will change us.
  • This season is different for each of us, depending on our employment, household, home resources, and health.
  • What PPE stands for.
  • I want us to be St. Louis instead of Philadelphia.

Things I’m working on saying “NO” to during this season….

  • Early alarms.  Late nights.  24-hour news.
  • Xenophobia. Rumors meant to scare. Presidential tweets.  Coupling economic interests with Easter.
  • Reading every parenting article or posts about how to live right now.
  • Looking too far into the future.
  • Creating false understanding before it is time.
  • Letting concern for money overpower concern for people.
  • Begrudging the fragility of the human body.
  • Underestimating the endurance of human connection.

A running list of things I’m saying “YES to lately…

  • New forms of patriotism and proud Kentucky moments #TeamKentucky
  • Fewer cars on the road.  Not packing lunches.  Sleeping in because there’s no need to rush through the day.
  • Listening intently enough to hear our environment breathing in cleaner air as the whole world stays at home.
  • The joy of familiar faces when a Zoom call finally connects
  • The daily opportunity to practice patience with those in my household.
  • The daily opportunity to practice forgiveness in equal measure.
  • Laundry running now that we have a working washer.  Living without makeup for the first time in years.  Pilates with our three-year-old.  Puzzles at night with Drew.
  • Using the term “Common Good” as I make daily choices.
  • Humanity joined together as one – not just in pain but in silly moments and art lessons with Mo Willems.
  • Wildflowers bunched up in little hands.
  • Music live-streamed from our sanctuary that makes tears pool in my eyes.
  • Authors who are taking this time to write what will come to be my favorite book one day… or my favorite poem, essay, song, movie script.
  • Grocery workers, governors, gas station attendants, garbage collectors.
    Nurses, custodians, journalists, doctors, administrators, pharmacists.
  • Telehealth, Zoom, FaceTime, Text messages, Phone calls, Live Streams, Stories.
  • Sunshine and warmer weather, and the hope for more of it.
  • Hugs from my husband amidst difficult parenting… or really, at any time.
  • Preschool Zoom calls with bouncing faces but muted microphones.
  • Elementary school Zoom calls as they learn how to listen and how to share their feelings.
  • Bike rides around the neighborhood with the sound of shifting gears.
  • Playing remembering games – remembering what it feels like to hug my mother, hold on to my father’s arm, greet my colleagues in the office, feel the weight of my ministerial robe, reach out and touch a congregant’s arm as I offer communion.
  • Eager anticipation for returning to physical life together where we will, one day, casually move through a crowded hallway at Highland, completely unaware of the luxury of close contact and hands stretched out to meet.


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