Pivot in Place
I’ll admit, when I first heard that covid cases are rapidly rising, my heart sank. I thought about parents who worked at home all last year amid overwhelming chaos and stress; also about everyone affected by layoffs, unemployment, and small business uncertainties. I thought about the aching loneliness and isolation of people who lived alone as the long months dragged on.
I considered, too, how I had worked without much of a break in front of my own computer for 10-12+ hours a day. It was unavoidable as we figured out new ways to meet new needs, deal with new threats. I love learning and the people I work with, so I didn’t fully realize how badly I’d strained my mind and body without noticing. I was really hurting by June. My heart sank as I thought “I can’t go through that again.” And then I panicked as it sunk in that I didn’t really have a choice about what’s going to happen.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to pivot. To turn tightly in place so that you’re ready to make new moves, in a new direction. When you’re playing basketball you have to be on your toes, literally, to be able to do this. If you’re resting flat on your feet and try to make a sudden move anywhere other than the direction your feet are pointing you’re likely to fall over. But if you’re on your toes you can weave and dodge around whomever is guarding you. There’s a good chance that you can break through, spin, twirl, pass the ball, even take your shot.
This is how you play the game—you figure out how to pivot and turn against the obstacles. This can happen within the narrowest of confines—the width of the ball of your foot. The main streets in the oldest parts of Salt Lake City are 128 feet wide—the width needed to turn a team of oxen pulling a wagon. Nice to have, but not necessary. We can turn amid the narrowest of circumstances if we pivot in place and look for what’s possible now.
We may not have any choice about current public health conditions that make us shudder for so many reasons—past traumas that vividly remind us of threats of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual death. But we do have the power to figure out how we’re going to respond. If people can’t come to ERUUF, is there a way to bring ERUUF to the people? If we can’t meet in person in large groups in the Sanctuary, can we meet safely as Beloved Community in pods—small groups of 3-6 people or families who agree to practice the same safety measures—to enjoy watching and responding to the service together? Ministers and leaders are pivoting, and we’ve started to consider ways that we can be Beloved Community together safely, simply, sustainably, and with JOY!
Are there ways that you’ve learned to be on your toes, to pivot in place? What have you learned about finding new possibilities, and the best ways to take them? You can bet there’ll be an invitation sometime in the coming weeks inviting you to join online to share your experience. You’re needed! We’ve come this far together and that’s how we’re going to figure out how to get through whatever lies ahead.
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