It's challenging to start new things when everything feels disrupted. That's okay.

Happy Saturday!

I sent out the first issue of the newsletter on Sunday, January 16. You didn't get it, well, because you hadn't subscribed. Here you go. But we're not waiting for the baby anymore! (gratitude and joy

Thanks!

Jon 

Happy Sunday!

Welcome to the "Finding Words" newsletter. This is the first issue. 

I'm still learning the new software (Mailerlite). All my previous newsletter creation habits are being challenged. "How do I do this action that I used to do that way?" 

It's hard to make those changes, because so much of what we do is habitual, up to 40% according to some. As I work on this newsletter, I have to think about actions that were habits. I've waited for months to start this process because I've had to think about so many other changes that were habits, too. 

You've been having to think hard, too. Where school or work happens, when gatherings happen (or don't), whether we can talk with that person about this subject or not. For many of us, every element of our life has involved thought. Our habits haven't worked. 

No wonder we are tired and tentative. 

I could say, "This new software is awful". I could say, "I'm incompetent." 

Neither are true. What is true is that I'm learning, that takes time, and soon I'll have a new skill. And in the meantime, I finally have a new newsletter. And so do you.

I was asked to talk to a healthcare team about self-care. Instead, I suggested 10 ways to help each other. I started with the word “survive”. I realized that “endure” sounds more encouraging, or hopeful, or long-term. (But I’m still thinking about survive.)

1. Remember that we each survive differently, because

2. “Survive” means different things to each of us, because

3. We are each eachs, distinguished by generation, culture, enneagram, Myers Briggs, Rubin’s Tendencies, spiritual gifts, voices in our heads, family stories, place in life, love languages. As result, remember that we survive differently.

4. Acknowledge that there is disruption in the cultures we are part of, family, congregation, departmental, organizational, regional, national.

5. Acknowledge out loud to each other and ourselves that "this is hard."

6. Banish the word “just” as in, “You just need to” or “If you would just” or “It’s easy, just do this.”

7. The effects of stress, according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, relate to physical health: “You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.” So a team with lots of stress, like a team working in healthcare these days, can anticipate illness through no individual fault.

8. Remember that in our theological traditions, there is hope.

9. Sometimes, helping with tasks, not words, matters.

10. Tiny acts matter. (Getting the cup of coffee or tea, tidying up the shared space) And tiny acts of respecting agency matter. (Letting you alone to sort through the work) 

A bonus 11. There is no shame in calling a time out, in tapping out for a bit. We all and each need rest, though that may look different for each of us (see 1-3)

We (Nancy and I) sent Andrew back to Germany a week ago. And Hope would love to have the baby arrive this weekend. Good changes, but changes nonetheless. And opportunities for me to practice what I preach about learning and resting. 

I'm working on a new web-resource, "Finding words in hard times." I'll let you know when it's live. 

If you don't know about This Is Hard: What I Say When Loved Ones Die, I'm sorry. It's my best work to date in giving people words in a particularly hard time, right after a loved one has died. Others have found it helpful. I'd love for you to take a look at it. (more about This Is Hard.)

I'm working on helping people send cards to friends at time of loss. Call them sympathy cards or condolence cards, or simply call them a chance to say hello. If you'd like a sample card, reply to this email with a mailing address and I'll send you one blank (inside) card with an envelope. 

Thanks for signing up. Next time I'll know the software and the flow a little better. I'll have some more resources from others. I'll have some updates. 

Jon

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