May you find peace

In a recent Conference email, the Rev. Liz Garrigan-Byerly, Executive Minister for Area Conference Ministry, wrote something very wise. Something that I needed to hear. She wrote that staff are seeing more anxiety and conflict in churches right now... because we're coming up on the fourth anniversary of the world shutting down due to covid. Our last "normal" worship service was March 8, 2020. I had forgotten.

 

But our bodies and brains do not forget. Yesterday on my drive home, I listened to a podcast with psychiatrist and neuroscientist Arah Javanbakhat. He talked about what happens when we experience something frightening or traumatic: all the details of that experience are seared into our memories so that we can avoid that situation in the future.

 

It's a key evolutionary component of survival! For example: a lion attacks! And so our brain is stamped with all the details: the time of day, the slant of the light, the smells and sounds, the place... so that any of those aspects encountered again will trigger a fear response, so we can avoid another lion. So in the next few weeks we might be feeling that fear response, triggered by the time of year, the light, the smells, the sounds - and we might not realize why.

 

Be gentle with yourself and others in these next weeks, Good People. Our brains may be on alert (and there is much else about which to be on alert these days, alas!!) but may we trust in God's guidance and love. May you find peace!