Rev Michelle's Message May 26, 2022

Dear Ones, it’s hard to believe we are trying to wrap our heads around yet another school shooting, just a few days after the senseless tragedy in Buffalo. You are most likely feeling some of the same things I am—a mixture of astonishment, grief, anger, hopelessness, and numbness. You may be feeling nothing….or find yourself wanting to avoid news coverage of the tragedy. I, myself, was feeling a bit bad about my own seeming lack of reaction to the tragedy when I came across a post from a minister friend that gave me permission to just feel however I was feeling. Her post talked about how we all react differently to these types of events and it’s totally natural to alternate between feeling numb, furious, depressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. There is no “right” way to feel and no “right” way to react. I know this post was comforting to me and I was able to give myself permission to cope with these events however I need to, to feel whatever I am feeling, and to not judge myself for it. I invite you to give yourself that same permission. As my colleague’s post urged, “Give yourself a little space today to be human. Your body and mind are feeling so much and it’s okay if you don’t know what to do with all of that emotion.” Sometimes it is all too much for us to process and we must do whatever we need to in order to protect our own mental health. I also came across a post from Valarie Kaur, whose book, See No Stranger, we studied last year in church. Her responses to these types of things always seem to highlight our common humanity, which gives me comfort. She said: What does it feel like? Like a primal scream that won’t stop. In a moment, I will wash my face and go downstairs and hug my babies and feed them dinner. Is the heart big enough to hold this? All this grief. All this rage. All the joy in their faces. My ancestors say, “Oh my love, Yes. That is the heart we gave you.” In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, as we strive to make sense of it and see a way forward, let us remember that our hearts are indeed big enough to hold the full spectrum of human emotion. It’s okay to feel whatever we are feeling. Our hearts are broken open precisely because we are human. Today we grieve together. And tomorrow we will rise once again in hope together. Many Blessings, Rev. Michelle