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October 21, 2020
A Note from Pastor April

dear friends,

It’s been an emotionally intense year in every way imaginable.

“Normal” has an entirely new meaning these days. Daily errands require way more thought and planning. Political divisions make everyday interactions on social media more harrowing and hurtful. Learning to do things in new ways is exhausting. This is on top of any anti-racist work you might be doing, parenting in a pandemic, learning to work from home or find new employment if you lost your job, maintaining safety and sanitation, and trying to find time to occasionally get some rest.

We are all running pretty low on energy these days.

As we work hard to protect our vulnerable bodies from this virus, our mental health has taken a pretty heavy hit in these last seven months.

Lately I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to the things that put an extra strain on my energy (reading the news, going to the store, preaching to a camera) and the things that build up my energy even when I’m tired.

On Sunday I posted on social media about some of the things that have been helping to energize me, and I had more engagement and comments and sharing than just about anything in recent memory. People shared some wonderful things about how they are coping. I knew it was probably time to widen that conversation in this space.

The biggest energizer I’m finding is LAUGHTER. Nothing can perk up my spirit more than a good hearty laugh. Sometimes it comes in a conversation with a good friend on the phone, a comedy on Netflix, or in an epic texting chain involving a large number of ridiculous GIFs. My personal favorite is “Angry Hairbrush Girl” who seems to embody what all of us are feeling about 2020 in general.

This weekend I was enjoying some high-level trash talk with a friend about our Fantasy Football matchup. I had come home exhausted from church, but after five minutes of nonstop laughter, I was more awake and energized than I had felt in many days. Laughter truly is the best medicine! (And certainly eased the pain a couple of days later after my crushing defeat!)

Another energizer for me is the OUTDOORS. On my Facebook post, people shared how much energy and renewal they found from standing in the trees or by a stream of water. Fall is my favorite season, and the colors right now are making a walk in the woods more beautiful than ever.

Nature provides that constant reminder for me that life is continuing. Without any help from me, the trees lose their leaves and prepare for winter. Without any help from me, the squirrels gather their acorns and the birds fly south. The worms in my compost bin transform my food and paper scraps each week into rich and hearty soil for the garden. Watching it all happen is such a helpful reminder that I can exhale and know that all of this does not rest on my shoulders.

And lastly… COFFEE.

That might seem like an obvious one, but it’s more than the caffeine. This summer and fall, I’ve developed a wonderful daily ritual of pouring my daily cup of cold-brew, often with a homemade simple syrup (lavender being my current favorite). It is a daily act of self-care, and I love to do this and to savor each sip. Sometimes it’s the simple things.

As we head into the election, as COVID cases spike again, and as we wonder how the holidays will look more different than ever, I can feel the tension rising. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

This Sunday, I’m so grateful to have the chance to share with you a conversation I had with Ann Kennedy about mental health. In addition to being a longtime member of HUMC, Ann has been on the frontlines of this pandemic as a social worker in the emergency room of one of our Central Ohio hospitals.

Ann sees firsthand what happens in families when our mental and emotional wellness is not attended to over the long haul. Our conversation around how to care for ourselves and one another could not be more important in the days ahead.

We are headed into a tough season friends. Our well-being matters. I hope you’ll join us for this conversation in worship (livestreaming every Sunday on Facebook Live at 9 and 11am), and I also hope you will continue to be in dialogue about how we can support one another in this season.

Sending all kinds of love and encouragement. You are not alone!

April

Pastor April Blaine
Lead Pastor
ablaine@hilliardumc.org
614.876.2403


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previous letters of encouragement

Click title for PDF.

August 26, 2020: Be Kind to Yourself (Beth Palmer, Director of Adult Discipleship)

August 19, 2020: Kill the Hill (Pastor Jon Osmundson)

August 12, 2020: Room to Grow (Pastor April Blaine)

August 5, 2020: For Just Such a Time as This (Nikki Buskirk, Children’s Ministry Assistant)

July 29, 2020: Resilience and Courage (April Andrick, Director of Youth Ministry)

July 22, 2020: You. Are. Not. Alone. (Lindsay Robinson, Director of Children’s Ministry”

July 16, 2020: Being Present in the Moment (Pastor April Blaine)

July 8, 2020: An Invitation to the Hero’s Journey (Pastor April Blaine)