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February 15, 2022

Dear friends,

I hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day and had an opportunity to tell those you love that you love them and care for them. Like Christmas, sometimes big expectations get placed on this one day, but I’m hoping that we all are able to at least express that we love one another in one way or another.

I had an interesting conversation with a professional therapist the other day. She told me that Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a real thing, but that it is also most prevalent in mid-October-Thanksgiving, and then it comes back again in mid-January until early March. Christmas and the break it gives us isn’t just different decorations around the house, it also gives us a mental break. I have seen this from experience and know it to be true in my own life as well. When I am in a state of sadness, I start planning things. I plan trips and events and vacations. I think in my mind, “I don’t want to feel like this, so I am going to plan to feel better in the future.” So I put things in place to look forward to.

Here is the bad part about it; it distracts me from the present moment. There is still good work to be done in this season. Wendell Berry has a quote where he says, “The seed is in the ground, and now the darkness can do its work.” There are seasons for planting and harvesting, but there are also seasons of waiting for the work to happen. These are also the seasons of dreaming and discovering. If all I’m thinking about is the future, how do I pay full attention to what I am learning in the moment?

The good part about it is that we have something to look forward to, but we need to hold that in tension with what we can do in the present moment. So, in applying that metaphor to the church (I don’t think it is any coincidence that the church calendar calls this season, Lent, and is a season of reflection to prepare for Easter), what can be discovered DURING this season, and what do we want the future to look like? Does it look like youth and children’s events? Does it look like meals together again? Does it look like seeing smiling faces again? What do you dream of for your church? What dreams are being given by God to you? This is the season for that and the time to take steps to see it come to fruition.



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