From the Pastor 4.30.19

This has been an extraordinary season in California.  Last fall and winter, so much of our state got so much rain—in some areas it was the most in 20 years.  There were floods in some places, and some people lost their homes or sustained significant damage to their property.  It was tragic to witness this.

In March it was announced that we are officially free of drought, after more than seven consecutive years of not enough water.  It’s been so dry for so long, it’s a little hard to adjust.  I still have the buckets I bought to capture water from our very short showers so I could water plants.  And I remember flushing the toilets every third time we used them.  I can’t seem to escape that memory!

A few weeks ago I was in central California driving through the Santa Lucia Mountains near the coast.  I stopped at a turnout that was about 2,500 feet above sea level.  It’s hard to describe the view west from that spot on that day.  It was clear, and there were miles of bright-green mountain ridges and canyons leading down to the sea.  It looked liked pictures I’ve seen of Ireland.  So many shades of green.  And there were blooms in waves everywhere I looked—yellow, orange, and some purple.

I had seen these mountains before from this same spot, and it had never looked like this before.  The normal colors are variants of brown.  Pretty much for months and years on end.

It was a startling change, which sticks with me.  For so long I was used to seeing brown or (in the spring) greenish-brown, it’s almost like I was in a different place.  But I was reminded that there is so much new life in what looks almost dead.  All it needs is some water.

One of the biggest challenges of this life is to accept the reality that, if you have love in your life, you will also have grief.  It’s not a problem to be solved or a disease to be healed.  It is part of the package when we love someone.  Whether we like it or not, or know it or not, all of us who seek love in our lives will face grief.

For three weeks starting Monday, May 6, I’ll be leading a conversation based on Megan Devine’s book It’s OK That You’re Not OK.  In it she says, “The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside.  There is pain in this world you can’t be cheered out of….  Some things cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried.”

When someone you love is grieving, how can you help them?  If I am grieving, how can I understand the help I need?  As I ask myself these questions, I find that in addition to coming up with ways to help others and myself, I find that life becomes a little richer and more-fulfilled.  It’s only natural, because if I’m more attentive to my grief I am likewise more attentive to the love in my life.

By the way, the Monday conversations will be from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in the New Room.  All are invited.  Books are available through the office, or directly from Amazon.  For the first meeting, please read the introduction and part one of the book.

See you in church!