February 2022

“Ways to Relieve Stress.” That’s the title of a handout from a doctor’s office. It begins with “blow bubbles” and ends with “count your blessings.”

I don’t blow bubbles in the house. Next is “meditate.“ Something I do, but not often enough. Then “go bowling,” “take pleasure in quiet time,” “read a book,” “fix yourself a cup of hot tea,” ... “write a letter to a friend.” I was surprised at how many I actually do or have recently done. We went bowling when my grandchildren were here for Christmas. I wrote notes to old friends in response to their holiday news.

“Go to the park,” “plan your dream vacation,” “sit under a shady tree.” It’s the wrong season for the last one. I am starting to make plans for a few trips during my time away - looking forward to wandering through museums in Washington D.C. Possibly - a dream my grandmother put into my head long ago - we’ll visit Chartres Cathedral in France. I walk around Look Park, at least when the thermometer goes above 25 degrees. 

“Listen to music….tear up an old newspaper.” Is that a way to release frustration over all the world’s troubles? I used an old newspaper to cover my kitchen table while I repotted long-neglected plants. I bundled up the pages when done and dumped the debris on the compost pile, then put them back into the recycling bin. No ripping.

“Watch a sunrise or sunset, prioritize, … sing or whistle a song …clean out a closet …catch up with a family member.” My younger sister and I both had the same idea, and had a long talk this past weekend. 

It’s February. Winter is wearing on many of us. Living with a wily pandemic that refuses to quit is wearing on us all. We find our strength and comfort and relief in different ways, in silly and simple things. We find them in small accomplishments, like cleaning a closet or repotting a plant, that can give us some sense of control. We find them by connecting and reconnecting to other people, remembering that we are not alone. And by counting our blessings.

One of my blessings is serving as your minister.Janets signature