Rev. Lee begins this sleepy DST morning by reading to us. She reads a story about a leaky faucet, and how the way the leak grew larger felt like a symbol of a person breaking down. She talks about how this feeling might have added to what experts are calling “The Great Resignation.” She also leads us through a talking/journaling activity.
More Than We Know
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The following is a message from WellSprings congregation. Oh. Good morning, everyone. It’s a sleepy morning, isn’t it? We’re all on.
Probably at least one hour. What did I do to my cord? There we go. We’re all on. Probably at least. One hour. Less of sleep than
usual. It’s winter all of a sudden again. When did that happen? And so.
I’d like to actually. Do something that I think fits our mood this morning to open my message, which is read to you for a minute. And I
want to. Invite everybody you know, we are a small crew today, so our. Musicians, our tech volunteers.Carl in the back room. He can
hear me. I can’t see him, but I know. He’s there to just. Rest for a moment. Some of you come here with. A role to play, but how often
do we get to be read to. As adults? This reflection I want to. Share. Is from a clergy. Colleague. Of mine. He’s one of those
colleagues that we call.Sort of a ministers. Minister. He’s really well respected by all of. Us in the ministry. And he. Is retiring this year
from his. Role as senior minister. At Oak Ridge UU Church, which is just outside. Knoxville, Tennessee. That’s him on the left. The
picture from their website, the Reverend. Jake Murrell. And as Jake moves. Closer to his. Retirement. He started a newsletter where
he shares. Reflections and thoughts. Like this with his colleagues. So here are Jake’s words. From this week. A few months. Ago,
the faucet. In the. Hallway, bathroom. Sink at my. House stopped. Working. Now, when you. Hear that a faucet has stopped.
Working, you might be imagining that no water is coming out anymore. And sometimes that’s the case. But in this instance, our
broken faucet just wouldn’t turn off. What began one. Day as a drip, drip, drip. Turned into a small stream and then a constant. flow.
Now as someone raised not to. Waste water. It was unnerving to. Me to watch all of that unused water. Running free until the
plumber. Arrived. And it occurred to me as I noticed that feeling. That a person can be a lot. Like. A broken faucet. When a person
isn’t functioning very well, we often imagine someone who has stopped. Someone who has. Stopped. Performing basic tasks,
someone who is hiding away from challenges and. Responsibilities and relationships like a faucet that has stopped Conducting.
Water. And sometimes that’s the case. But like a faucet that won’t stop running. A person whose functioning has broken down can.
Also appear. To be in constant motion. Chasing this and that Overwhelmed by effort, engaged with responsibilities. At all hours.
Unable to turn. It off. This week. As I watched my broken faucet. This week marked also. The second. Anniversary. Of a moment. We
all remember when the United States began to shut down in response to COVID 19. It has been a complex time with. Multiple waves.
Of complexity. In addition to illness and death. And the pervasive. Shadow of these over our daily lives. Our patterns of functioning
also changed in relationship to work and to each other. They were fundamentally. Altered. And for some. This brought opportunity.
For others. Crushing challenge. Different people have had different experiences through. The two years of COVID so far. So I’m
wary to. Speak in terms of always a. Never or. Everyone and no one. But I will. Say that chronic anxiety. Has a corrosive effect.
Contending with uncertainty over the long haul can wear away. Even the most well-defined and best functioning lives. I’ve seen many
Like a faucet. That won’t stop running. Well-meaning, hard working people who. Have surrendered to. The pressure. And expectation
of duty under. Stress. And now new. Stressors have arrived. The war in Ukraine with its threat to global democracy. If circumstances
can be expected to be rife with this uncertainty for the long. Haul. Than at some point running without stopping like a broken faucet is
unsustainable. So maybe this. Week. Maybe this two year anniversary. It’s a good time to take some time. Aside from your projects.
And your responsibilities. To come back to some. Basic. Questions. That can help you respond. Thoughtfully to whatever.
Challenges. Might be. Arising in the months ahead. questions like. What is. Your understanding. Of your purpose? What is the gift
that you can bring?
And what is the. Gift that others. Can bring, which you are unwilling or unable to bring? May your mindfulness. And your clarity. Help
you rise. To each moment ahead. Responding in the way that you intend to respond. Running like a broken faucet. Does that
resonate for anyone? I wonder. A couple of people. I responded to this note, this reflection from Jake, not only. Because. It. Paints
such a good picture of. How some of us might. Feel. The pouring out and the. Energy that it took over these past two years to adjust.
To take in everything that is happening in this world still. I responded. Because it is a story about. Resignation. And it’s also a story
about integration. Jake’s force, it turns out, needed a new rubber washer. A rubber washer stops the water flow so that. You can
control it with the handle, but with time and use and decay. It’s just a part. That eventually wears down. The rubber. Washer
And Jake. Storey. And so it. Is a story. About things that end and can no longer. Perform their role. But it’s also a story about repair.
And about repair through integration. Resignation and integration are two sides of the same coin. Because when something ends or.
Leaves or quits. There has to. Be a renegotiation. Of all of the different parts. Around.It. To bring about that repair. In Jake’s. Story,
there. Was him, the homeowner, who. Notices the problem in the first place. There’s the water. Company. That keeps the H2O
flowing through those pipes. There’s the Internet service. Provider that helps Jake be able to Google.And research and find a
plumber to call. There’s the plumber who has.
The. Skill and knowledge. To assess and repair the problem. The suppliers who make sure that the plumber has the. Tools and the
parts that he needs. There’s even Jake’s congregation who give generously so he can earn a Salary to Pay the plumber. For his
work. Resignations are an ending. But they are also. Always one step in this larger. Process, this bigger picture. And as we grieve,
what is lost. We can also accept the invitation to the new integration that it opens space for. The rearranging. Of roles. The shifting
of. Priorities. And the renegotiation of something new. And yet. We often want. To rush it. We see. The emergency of the water
flowing out of the faucet and we think it needs to. Stop. Right now. But like so many things in life, it takes more time than we think.
Repair takes time and care and patience. More time and care and patience sometimes than we think it will. Time to take. Stock. Of
the changes that have been brought on in. Each of our lives by the past few. Years, even if they’re not external, the internal
responses. That we have had. To what’s been lost. Or destroyed. To what needs. To be rebuilt and what our role might be. As we
move forward with these pieces. Around. Us. This idea of a great resignation. It’s a phrase that you’ve probably heard if you. Read
anything in the news. Media over the last year. We started hearing it last spring. April 20, 21, just. About a year ago, just as.
Vaccines. Were becoming available to the general public. That was the month. That a record. 4 million Americans in one month. Quit
their jobs. Since then, about 33. Million Americans. Have quit their jobs. That’s about 10% of the American population of the whole
American population, not just the working population. And some of. Us have lived this shift ourselves. Yeah. Julia. I was going to say,
I’m curious if any of. You count yourself as part of the. Great resignation. Maybe you have left a job or retired. Maybe you’ve. Moved
in the last two years, ended a relationship. Gained a child, made some big life change since March 2020. If you’re watching online in
the. Chat, let us know. Do you feel like you’re part of this? And it’s interesting you might have made a change. But you might not see
it as part. Of the pandemic. Right, because. Our lives are more complex than that. There’s a lot more moving parts. I made a big
change in the. Last two years, and at first.
I didn’t think of myself as making that change as part of the pandemic. But I moved last summer. I moved from a city that I had called
home for ten years. And while the seeds of that decision were planted before 2020, there was absolutely something about the
pandemic experience that pushed me to take that final step. These last few. Years have been isolating and fragmented. We are all
still. Doing things that we never imagined. Two years. And a few. Days ago would become part of our daily lives. And things are
shifting and changing again, which is exactly the time that some of this stuff comes up for us. And we start to notice what’s missing.
And what we want to bring back into our lives. What we want to create now. With what’s here still. For me, it was that. Isolation, that
fragmentation, that feeling that. We were pulling apart at. The seams. As a society. That made me want to be in one place. To move
where my ministry was and to be. Totally here, more fully a. Part of one community and not. Split my life between two places.
Between work and home anymore. There’s a wonderful.
Article that our Spiritual. Development Ministry found. I’m looking at Deb, who’s on it. It’s in the Resource Guide for this series. It’s
available on our website. And it’s from Fortune magazine of all places. It has a very. Unfortunate magazine, Central. Idea. This idea
that these. Resignations and the changes people are making are not. Really about work. They’re about people starting to see work
as part of this bigger picture in their lives. They actually talk about that phrase work. Life balance, and they say. What’s. Happening
here is a renegotiation of. That phrase to life work. Balance. People are downgrading work. They want to see it as one smaller part.
In the mix of that integrated whole. And so they’re making different. Choices so that they can put their lives first. And doing that
doesn’t mean coming up with more energy to do more in life. Right? To work hard and play hard. It’s not about pouring more energy
down the drain and running the faucet even harder. It means taking a step. Back to see that bigger picture. To see the plumber and
the parts supplier and the water company and the congregation. And consider our relationship to all of it. And consider what we want.
Not just to leave behind, but to move. toward.
This takes time. I can’t give it to you in a sermon. And in fact, I wanted to take advantage of this time when we are still meeting in a
relatively small group. To give you. All a chance to do something you haven’t been able to. Do here for. A long time. Just to talk with
each other. To reflect on this sentence. The sentence. That’s part of our message series. Series description this season. In the
context of this great resignation and the reintegration, we say it makes sense that in times of change, people change to. It makes
sense that in times of change, people change to. And so I’m going to invite all of us this morning to take some time here to consider
how you have changed and how you’re changing.
Over these past two years. I’m going to invite Harry. And Andy to come up on. Stage. They’re going to play a little. Background
music, so it’s not too. Quiet in here. And as they do. For the next 5 minutes, I’m going to invite each of you to find someone in the
room to connect with. Pull your chairs. Up to another. Pod.
If there’s someone that looks by themselves who needs a friend, remember, be friendly. Invite them in. Mix it up. If you don’t want to
talk to your own family members, that’s fine. If you’re online at home, perhaps you can talk to somebody in. Your house, or perhaps.
You want to share in the chat with everyone. But just pull your chair. Up to another Pod. And take. Each of you about half of. These
next 5 minutes to answer this question. The question on the screen. How have you. Changed? How have you changed in these past
two years? And if any of you are. Introverts who are. Panicking right now and I just invited. You to your. Worst. Nightmare. Or if you
just. Feel the need to. Be quiet right now, there are also. Blank. Journals for you. There’s a. Stack of them over. There by Chris
behind Teresa. There’s a stack. Of them on the heater and there’s pens. So if you want to take this time to connect with yourself and
reflect quietly on that question, please come up and grab one, pass them around and write some thoughts to yourself.
Thank you. So how have you changed these past two years and how are you changing now? Okay. Take about 30. Seconds. Start
to wind down your conversations. Time goes fast. Time goes fast when we’re sharing. And I know that so many of us have missed
this. I hate to break you up. Thank you all. I hope that. This experience, this chance to connect. Filled you up a little bit. Whether you.
Were connecting here with your. Neighbors or just with yourself over these past few minutes. But I’ll invite us all now to close. This
morning as we began, just by listening to some words offered in the. Spirit of prayer. God of our hearts. Spirit of this life. And this.
Love. And these connections that we’ve been given. Help us remember to take time. Help us remember that there is no magic
amount of time we are. Supposed.To. Need to heal. To prepare. To find. Our way. Help us remember that it is okay if it takes. As
long as it takes. We are living in a moment in. History that has brought loss. And change. But we are also here this morning. And we
are. Part of a bigger picture. And so help us remember that this is what it really looks like. It is slow. And. Unhurried work. To weave.
Something back. Together.
o make something whole again. In these days ahead, may we be willing to grant ourselves that grace? Of more than we think we
need. And may. You. Mysterious giver of our lives. May you. Supply that grace. As we need it from all the different sources that are
around us. For these prayers that I’ve. Spoken and for. The prayers that all of us are carrying on. Our hearts this morning, we say
amen.If you enjoyed this message and would like to support the mission of WellSprings, go to our web site WellSprings uu. Org.
That’s WellSprings the letters uu dot org.
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