Sharing Our Stories: Saturday Edition
This was an email originally sent out to the parish on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
We are off to a great start sharing our Covid-19 stories with each other. The opening round is below. We will be archiving these and posting these on our Thoughts & Happenings Blog.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone of us shared a story? I love imagining your faces as I read these. Once again, please don’t be shy. Your offering of yourself to all of us is a great gift! And just because you have submitted one reflection doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear more from you. We do! It will be a while yet before we can gather in one another’s company and this is one way to lessen the pangs of absence.
See you (virtually) tomorrow to celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter at 9:30! God bless you and all those you love,
Reflection by Arne Hendrickson
I was 17 in January of 1968. The enormity of world events that year might help put current events into perspective. During 1968 the U.S. would see the capture of a U.S. Naval Ship by North Korea, two assassinations (Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy), the most notorious war crime in U.S. history (My Lai), students killed and wounded by local police and military authorities, increased racial tensions which would lead to hundreds of riots, a flu pandemic (H3N2) that will kill over a million people world-wide, over 90 airline hijackings, the realization that we were losing the war in Viet Nam, and a general unraveling of society as we knew it. We were truly living in “interesting times”.
Being 17 (and turning 18 mid-year) meant that I knew what was happening but did not have the maturity to truly understand the magnitude of what was going on.
I was extremely fortunate to begin my college education at a top school where I met educators and coaches that would teach me how to think, compete, and lead. These skills would serve me well over my professional life and allow me to positively impact the lives of many people. For that I will be forever grateful.
Later, I would grow in my spiritual life and to become closer to Jesus. With His guidance I would grow as a servant leader, learn that prayer can be powerful, and deepen my belief that love will conquer hate.
We do indeed live in “interesting times. We need to work hard to understand others, to listen attentively, to be sensitive to the feelings of others in our responses, to honor truth, and to continuously grow in our spirituality.
Better times do indeed lay ahead….
Reflection by Dwight Russell
Being retired for a number of years, Shirley and I have schedules not much different from the changes others have made by necessity in light of the Covid situation. That is, we spend most of each day enjoying our home and yard. Thus, we haven't really been affected by the lock-down, but that's not the end of the story. The concept of liminal space has made a positive and beautiful impact on us. We are learning how to step into that space and recognize what we are experiencing - occasional mild depression, feelings that things are not as they were and even sometimes a little weird, taking note of the animals as they react - they know things are different. However, there is great beauty in this space as we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in ways we have not in the past. We are more aware than we ever were and are blessed to be held in the hands of God and the great mystery of the Holy Spirit.
Blessings and joy to all.
Reflection by Nancy & Jim McEachran
It began at lockdown. Each day a routine as my wife oversees a faculty teaching over 600 ESL students.
I read...work house chores assigned to me. And work with Zoomites on human service initiatives going forward on the Eastside.
Each day includes an afternoon walk. We are up to three miles now. She it is our new time of caring and sharing. On the way.
We have been watching rhodies. This is our new bud. Bursting with hope of a new day.
We pause and just remember the God of all good things. A good moment for us...people of the Way...on the way with each one of you.
Our Creator paints well Spring growth.
In God's good time, all is and will be well.
Reflection by Marilyn Pedersen
Our Bishop, Greg Rickel sent out an email today with guidelines for parishes to consider as we reopen for worship. In response, I sent him a brief message, "what...no drive through services? ?" Much to my amazement and delight, Bishop Rickel sent me an answer that led me to think I made him smile. Our correspondence made me think about why I'm an enthusiastic Episcopalian. Clearly, worshiping God is vastly more than a "drive through" experience. Each worship service is carefully crafted to relate to specific Bible passages via sermons and music. This pandemic has sharpened my gratitude for all who lead and practice Christ's teachings. I'm especially grateful for the creative ways St. Thomas leadership has devised to keep us together with virtual services, bible study and Father Steve's mental health/wellness programs.
I deeply miss being together with my priests and fellow parishioners. I can hardly wait to sing and play my fiddle in our newly remodeled sanctuary. Will we be able to hug again?
Reflection by Brigitte Ashley Bolerjack
Good morning Father Lex,
I hope that you and Zonnie are doing well on this beautiful morning. I am responding to your request for quarantine stories. I don't really have much to say, every day kind of washes into the next. But thought I would share what is on my mind this morning:
This morning I am sitting in my increasingly cluttered living room, sipping some sludge that can barely pass for coffee (boy do I miss coffee hour after church). I have resorted to drinking generic instant coffee because it is what I have in the cupboard and I am too lazy to "suit up" with my mask and all and go to the store right now. I woke up earlier feeling energized and motivated to make breakfast scones, a nice little Saturday morning treat to enjoy with a cup of breakfast tea. But, my enthusiasm quickly deflated after finding I am all out of tea and then tripping, for the thousandth time, over one of the many extra charging cords that now scatter our apartment. We seem to have spider web of cords for all of the extra electronics and computers that are necessary for two people working from home in this new reality. Sometimes I pretend our apartment is one big obstacle course and by maneuvering through it I am improving my balance and earning gold stars and one day I might even rescue Princess Peach from captivity. But this morning I do not feel like playing the game. So I am sitting here eating my usual egg white and tomatoes, drinking sludge longing for a St. Thomas coffee hour. Then I saw your email about sending COVID stories and talking about St. Thomas coffee hour, the exact thing I wanted! So I sat for a few moments with my eyes closed, drinking my mud, and pretended I was there. I did a guided meditation of sorts, with the goal being that I could use my imagination and sense memory to turn my breakfast into decadent treats and a hot Italian roast. But what started filling my senses and my mind was not the coffee or the treats, it was the sounds of people. People talking, familiar voices and faces, saying "good morning" , Mother Sara holding a new baby about to receive baptism, Father Steve giving hugs and warm embraces, Ashley Buff saying "hellloooo!" and rallying teenagers together for fellowship, Doug playing the piano, people marveling over Greg's beautiful craftsmanship and Mark's wonderful designs, Father Lex smiling and talking with families, I could even hear Anne Rogers infectious laughter floating down from somewhere in the universe. So there he is, God! Just when I was feeling kind of pathetic and frustrated, God has shown up to remind me that what I am missing is here with me all along. It's definitely not the same and I don't think it ever will be. But for now it feels good to remember. So I am going to put the morning behind me and make something good out of today. Don't ask about tomorrow though, the groundhog jury is out.
Peace be with you and God Bless!
Brigitte (Ashley Bolerjack)
Below is a Facebook link (Randy's Facebook, I don't go on my account) to some videos I did to help my friends organization. Something I have been doing during my time at home:)
Reflection by Pat Catlin
This past Saturday should have been a celebrated day. Our son was to receive a hard-earned MBA, something he had postponed for years. After college, he had married, had boys and was on the “road to success,” until his marriage fell apart, came back together, and fell apart again. Years past, my son remarried, and he has finally achieved that degree. But no big graduation ceremony, and no big celebration that his new wife and I had planned for the past year. With the intervention of Covid-19, our big plans changed a lot!
Our only granddaughter will graduate high school in Sacramento in June. Once again, there were plans to attend the ceremony and celebration. Due to Covid-19, we will be unable to do so. Our granddaughter has missed her senior prom and all the exciting elements of being a high school senior. She will go on to college, but we are so very sad that cannot be with her at this time in her life.
This is a very strange time for everyone. I know God is here, and I pray he will be ready to lend a shoulder to all of us who want to support our loved ones. We have to give up traditions, but it’s what we have to do for the safety of everyone. God, give us the strength and courage to do what we need to do to save as many souls as we can during this pandemic. This has become my mantra, and the services from St. Thomas have been a needed source of strength for me.
Thank you and God bless all of you.
(Pat is a dear friend and ministry colleague from Lex's days at St Alban’s, Austin. She and her husband, Gary, now live in Boise and are faithful followers of our online community. We love you, Pat and Gary!)
Reflection by Rose Magee
Jim and I moved to Bellevue in 1962, coincidentally the year of the World's Fair in Seattle. We were born and raised as Episcopalians in the Midwest, went to U.Wisconsin in Madison WI, met at student Episcopal Chapel there. He became a pilot in the AF after graduating. When stationed in CA, he often flew up to the state of Washington and would land at tiny private airport: Paine Field. When there he would call and tell me how beautiful the area was. His military commitment completed, we then took off for three years of Harvard Law school. After that, Seattle and Washington beckoned, so with a job offer and with three young children, we moved to Bellevue and joined St. Thomas Church. Jim died of cancer in 2008. The church is my anchor. I love the liturgy, have served on Vestry and other committees over the years, feel I must contribute to St. Thomas which has given my life so much joy.
PS: We had a small red rhododendron in our yard at first, then it grew too big for the space, so 40 years ago I dug it up and brought it down to plant at the church where there was room for it. Then it grew and grew and grew! Too big for the courtyard, it now has a new home outside the East Transept of St. Thomas! Enjoy!