HomeHealth"Come and Discover the Quiet Middle" Get hold of US

“Come and Discover the Quiet Middle” Get hold of US

Sermon given Sunday, December 13, 2020 for Magic ValleyUnitarian Universalist Fellowship Zoom Worship Service

I’m so grateful to be right here with you just about
at this time and stay up for the time once we will be collectively once more in bodily
house. Thanks for giving me this chance to share my ideas about this
month’s theme: stillness.

Like many people throughout this yr of worldwide
pandemic and super change, I’ve begun to categorize my life into the
Earlier than Time and the Now. As some background, I’m a mom of 4 youngsters (two
in faculty, two nonetheless in highschool), a spouse, a neighborhood faculty English
professor, and a psychological well being advocate.

For a few years, the one fixed in my life has
been chaos. I’m betting quite a lot of of you may relate. What was your life
like within the Earlier than Time?

Then COVID-19 got here—and earlier than we get too far, I
have a confession to make. The pandemic was undoubtedly all my fault. No,
actually! Let me clarify.

Right here’s what my calendar appeared like within the final
week at first modified.

On Saturday, March 7, I attended the Depressed
Cake Store fundraiser for Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary homeless shelter and
related with my pricey buddy and fellow psychological well being advocate Valerie Van Gelder
and her sister and equally pricey buddy Jodi Peterson, director of Interfaith
Sanctuary. My youngsters and I had baked “depressed Oreos” for the occasion—unhappy
trying darkish chocolate cookies with gray cream cheese frosting filling, however
once you bit into them, you noticed a rainbow of cheery pinks and blues and yellows,
reminding us that psychological sickness doesn’t outline who we’re.

That night, I attended the Idaho Democratic
Social gathering’s gala. After I purchased my tickets, I had been over the moon on the thought
of listening to Mayor Pete, then ecstatic over the prospect of Elizabeth Warren,
then once they each cancelled, I used to be simply completely happy to attend and meet up with good
mates. Keep in mind once we might hang around collectively? took my final groupies that
night time, and now, it looks like one other world to me once I have a look at these images.
We have been all so bodily shut! None of us was sporting a masks! (It was a
fantastic night time).

On Sunday, March 8, I attended what can be
the final in-person service of the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. There
have been murmurs then about COVID—instances popping up in Seattle and New York—however right here
in Idaho, nothing appeared misplaced simply but.

On Monday, March 9, my 48th birthday,
I taught my standard English lessons on the School of Western Idaho, and my
sweetheart took me out to Rice, one in all my favourite Asian eating places, for what
would turn into my final supper inside a restaurant in 2020.

On Tuesday, March 10, I hosted a Mayan
archaeologist for a visitor lecture on the School of Western Idaho for my survey
of world mythology college students. Greater than 30 college students and neighborhood members
attended. We handed round a heavy rubber ball utilized in pok a tok, the normal
Mayan ball sport that figures closely within the Mayan creation story.

Per week later, we might be taught that somebody in
the constructing that night time with us had examined constructive for COVID 19.

On Wednesday, March 11 my college students have been
starting to ask questions—and I didn’t have solutions. I blithely instructed them not
to fret—that if we went on-line, I had years of on-line educating expertise and
would have the ability to help them in the course of the few weeks we might not have the ability to
attend class collectively.

That night time, I attended what can be my final in
individual choir rehearsal at BUUF—and realized to my horror that I had
by chance double booked myself for the approaching March 15 Sunday companies.

And right here’s why the pandemic with all its chaos
is my fault. I had stated sure to enjoying for BUUF’s choir and to enjoying the
organ at my youngsters’s Mormon church—at precisely the identical time! Reverend Sara, the
music director, and I started a frantic flurry of emails making an attempt to provide you with a
new order of service that may enable me to play at one church earlier than racing up
the highway to the opposite one. However regardless of how we checked out it, the logistics downside
appeared insoluble. It appeared like I must let somebody down and settle for
the results of my poor planning.

So in desperation, I prayed to no matter gods
could also be that one way or the other I might get out of the mess I had created for myself. And
right here we’re.

On Thursday, March 12, I taught what can be
my final in-person lessons—the final time I stepped onto CWI’s campus–until the
Fall semester of 2020. That night time, I attended my son’s final minute choir
live performance at Northwest Nazarene College. His choir had been chosen from all
the highschool choirs within the Pacific Northwest to carry out on the American
Choral Administrators Affiliation annual assembly—which had abruptly been cancelled
earlier that week due to fears concerning the pandemic.

So the choir sang for us as a substitute. The director
joked (with foresight, it seems) that it was most likely the final time singing
like this may be authorized for some time. In case you haven’t heard, it seems
choir is just about the proper superspreader occasion.

The music that night time was beautiful, and tears ran
down my cheeks as these highschool college students whose total world was about to
change started with their signature piece, a hymn referred to as “Come and Discover the Quiet
Middle.” We’ll come again to that hymn in a minute, however for now, let’s proceed
by means of the final week of my Earlier than Time.

On Friday, March 13—Friday the thirteenth
(haha). I discovered that my faculty had determined to begin Spring Break early and
lengthen the break for 3 weeks. That three-week break changed into 5
months—and whereas I’ve returned to campus to show a number of in individual lessons,
sporting a masks and socially distanced, in fact, most of my colleagues are
nonetheless working remotely.

On Saturday, March 14, the large Latter-day Saint
psychological well being convention I had been trying ahead to attending, that includes former
Brigham Younger College quarterback Tanner Mangum, was cancelled. That
afternoon, I went to the material retailer and bought cotton prints and flannel
backing to make masks. It was the final time I might set foot in any retailer different
than a grocery retailer for some time.

And on Sunday, March 15, the gods answered my determined
prayer. I used to be now not double booked as a result of every part was cancelled! All the things
that day, and the subsequent day, and the subsequent, stretching into months, was cancelled.

What might this imply? At first, all of us thought
it will be a number of weeks. Then we thought, perhaps a number of months. Then we realized
the terrible fact: 2020 was cancelled.

And identical to that, I had the one factor I might
by no means discover sufficient of: time.

So I sewed masks. Like lots of you, I baked—a
lot—and considered planting my backyard. I developed a day by day follow of
taking lengthy solitary walks round my neighborhood.

Throughout my walks, the hymn my son’s choir sang
would usually fill my thoughts. I need to share the phrases with you.

“Come and
Discover the Quiet Middle” by Shirley Erena Murray

Come and
discover the quiet heart within the crowded life we lead.
Discover the room for hope to enter, discover the body the place we’re freed.
Clear the chaos and the muddle, clear our eyes that we will see
all of the issues that basically matter, be at peace and easily be.

And I questioned, What’s so laborious about stillness
anyway? Why is it so laborious to “be at peace and easily be”? The reply is just not an
straightforward one. Within the sudden enforced quiet, we—all of us—have been pressured to face
the reality of our personal mortality. We’d get sick and die, or we’d not. Our
family members may get sick and die, or they won’t. However all of us must face
the reality: none of us will get out of right here alive. We’re powerless over life and

Some individuals flip to faith in instances like
these. We could consider Jesus calming the wind, the waves, and his disciples’
fears with a easy command: “Peace, be nonetheless.” Or we could consider the Biblical
seventh day, the Sabbath, a day created particularly for relaxation and contemplation
of the Divine.

Or our ideas could flip to the Jewish
custom, particularly throughout this week of Hanukkah. Talking of one other sacred day,
Yom Kippur, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths” and holiest day within the Jewish calendar,
Rabbi Marc Margolius of the West Finish
Synagogue in New York Metropolis wrote
that stillness is “
the quintessence of Yom Kippur itself: the need
for human beings to be, somewhat than to do; the need to be nonetheless, somewhat
than to talk; the need to hunt out the genuine and everlasting, not the
synthetic or temporal.”

Margolius additional observes that “A few of Judaism’s strongest non secular
metaphors are inner; they invite us to hunt God not atop a mountain or in
heaven, however inside ourselves.”

Have you ever climbed mountains looking for one thing? I
have. However nowadays, I’m spending extra time looking for God inside myself.

In yoga, the toughest posture for me is
savasana, corpse pose, the place we lie silent and nonetheless on our mats. It’s additionally the
most essential-part of my day by day follow: to quiet my busy mind, to say
“Peace: Be Nonetheless.” I’ve discovered that as I deal with being as a substitute of considering or
doing, I can really feel myself related to the world in marvelous methods, experiencing
what it means to exist within the superb everlasting now.

This time of enforced quiet has undoubtedly not been
all enjoyable and video games although. Within the stillness, I discovered some laborious issues about
myself. I discovered first that I used to be drained. We’re all so drained. Dwelling
with mundane, quotidian existential dread has a approach of doing that to us. From
pandemics to politics, our poor limbic methods are caught in panic mode.

I don’t find out about you, however I’m taking
antidepressants and doing tons of telehealth remedy to deal with even little issues
like grocery purchasing proper now. As a psychological well being advocate, I do know there’s no
disgrace on this. These instances are laborious, and I’m grateful that there’s assist, and
that I can entry it.

However I’m additionally specializing in my breath. At its
easiest, respiratory is the essence of existence. And as we breathe, we will “Clear
the chaos and the muddle” in order that we will see what actually issues to us. As I
have seen what actually issues to me, I’ve skilled a profound sense of

Within the stillness, the second laborious lesson I
discovered was that any sense of management is an phantasm. Within the Earlier than Time, I
thought that I used to be the grasp of my very own destiny. I tricked myself with Outlook
calendars and social media and different instruments of recent existence into believing
that I might management what occurred to me or to the individuals I cherished. I can’t. You
can’t. To “discover the body the place we’re freed,” we should first free ourselves
from this phantasm of management.

On my day by day walks final spring, I started to
develop what the poet Amy Clampitt referred to as “a limitless interiority” the place
something appeared potential. I watched ducklings develop from balls of yellow fuzz to
mature assured adults. I watched buds swell on tree branches and slowly
unfold their petals to the solar. Day by day, a number of extra blossoms opened till the
timber have been splashes of pink and white towards the blue spring sky. These buds
have been hope. I watched because the blossoms pale, the timber greened then turned to
gold. The leaves carpeted the sidewalks, and nonetheless we waited.

Within the conventional Christian liturgical
calendar, December is a time of ready. Throughout creation, Christians wait every
yr for the start of their god in human type.

(Enjoyable and barely sacrilegious truth from Life
Hacker Joel Cunningham—in the event you purchase an creation calendar the day after Christmas
this yr, it is going to rely down the times to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s

However severely, when you consider it, isn’t hope
for a greater world, in its easiest type, on the coronary heart of faith? We’re
referred to as, all of us, on this season of ready, of hope, of sunshine, to “Come and
discover our quiet heart.”

My youngsters and my college students hold asking me when
we are going to return to regular. I’ve good tidings for them—and for you: We gained’t.

In psychological well being advocacy, we have now a saying:
“Regular is a setting on the washer.” If we’re fortunate, we’ll emerge from
this time of stillness with one thing vital to say and do. When our eyes are
opened to the issues that basically matter—to social justice and fairness for our
Black and Brown brothers and sisters, to stewardship for our fragile earth, to
the longer term we need to depart our kids and their youngsters—we are going to “discover the
room for hope to enter.”

However most significantly, if we’ve discovered the
classes of those difficult instances, we’ll enter our new world, no matter it
appears to be like like, safe within the information of find out how to return to our quiet facilities, “to
be at peace, and easily be.” That peace is my want for myself and for all of
you, on this season of ready, of stillness, of hope, pleasure, and light-weight.

Closing Tune

Bothell High School “Come and Discover the Quiet Middle” organized by Kirk Marcy

Or my son’s Sonous choir directed by Seth McMullen: at minute marker 28:10-30:35 

Studying: From “A Silence” by Amy Clampitt

previous parentage or gender
past sung vocables
the slipped-between
the so infinitesimal
fault line
a limitless interiority

past the woven
unicorn    the maiden
(man-carved    worm-eaten)
God at her hip
the untransfigured
bluebell and primrose
rising wild     a strawberry
chagrin     night time terrors
previous the earthlit
unearthly masquerade

(we will be modified)

a silence opens


#Discover #Quiet #Middle

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