While writing this third newsletter instalment, it struck me both how long the past year - and how abbreviated winter - felt to me. I've always loved spring, but this year I've enjoyed our "early spring" perhaps more than ever before. I don't know if my sense for the people around me is heightened due to pandemic-related social restrictions, my age, or my role as a parent, but I've noticed that I notice people more now.
Just yesterday, while out for a quick walk with the kids, I was amazed by how many likewise folks were out on a stroll, or sitting on their front porch or back deck, or knee-deep in yardwork or gardening. The best part? Even a perfunctory exchange of "hi"s or "good afternoon"s or simple nods to passersby felt warm and joyful - a rare feeling for me in public settings of late.
**A note to those of you who cannot necessarily get outside for these types of activities: I feel deeply for you today, and my prayer is that God's joy and hope finds you in meaningful ways as only it can.
At the risk of falling prey to recency bias, to sounding sappy or cliché, or to not reflecting everyone's feelings on this day, I have a renewed sense of optimism - both in my own life, and in the mission and community of the church. I feel strongly that we are called to greatness - not necessarily in size or scope, but certainly in love and compassion.
Thank you for your faithfulness through the ups and the downs. I don't know what the next chapter brings, but I am grateful to encounter it with each of you; joy, sadness and all.