When Janet told me that she would be retiring this summer, my first reaction was sadness. She has been an incredible colleague, mentor, and supervisor; I will miss getting to collaborate with her.
For our congregation, my reaction has been curiosity: What’s next for USNF? How will these transitions impact the congregation? I keep returning to something Janet said: We are strong. I know she’s right. And I know that the people who are part of our congregation shape the community and make it what it is.
Those people include the family with the courage and commitment to get everyone to our building on a Sunday morning for the very first time. They are long timers who seem to be on almost every committee. They are parents like Jeremy Gantz, who has just become the layout editor for the Beacon, and Jon Weismoore, who is leading the elementary class to design and build a Little Free Library for our front lawn. There are people who want to share their gifts and help build community, like Judy Hyde, who has offered to lead a getting-to-know-you activity on February 25, and Jane Deihl, who created the current Parlor gallery exhibit (pictured here) as an opportunity for everyone to experience the spiritual practice of drawing. There is everyone who had the vision for regular community dinners on February 6, 20, and March 5, and the 200th Anniversary team, which is organizing many different ways to celebrate our congregation in 2025.
I am sad that Janet is leaving, and I am also looking forward to how, together, we will continue to grow, learn, connect, and innovate.
Last weekend, I took a walk with one of my best friends at the Historic Dam Trail in Williamsburg, where we discovered the most incredible ice formation I have ever seen. Above a dry stream bed, there were two different layers of ice with no water beneath them.
We spent at least 15 minutes kneeling down on the banks of the ice stream, trying to figure out what had happened. We touched the upper layer of ice, which was thick and had concentric circle patterns. We crumbled the lower, thinner layer. We speculated and wondered about how the ice froze in such perfect, beautiful sheets, without any water underneath. We came up with a lot of good hypotheses, but will probably never know how or why it happened.
I loved the sense of wonder and presence that I fell into, trying to solve this mystery. At first, I felt uneasy with not knowing, and then was grateful for the reminder that it’s okay to not know. It’s okay just to be amazed. (If you know how this happens, I wouldn’t be mad if you told me).
All around us, there are miracles that we take for granted. Our theme this month is mystery. I hope you find one that brings you to your knees in wonder.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.