I recall first hearing the term re-entry when I was a child and watched on television as NASA astronauts re-entered earth’s atmosphere, shifting from the weightlessness of space to the strong gravitational pull of earth.
Re-entry wasn’t comfortable but jarring, and not necessarily safe, because the return to our atmosphere was so hot it might result in death without a vehicle that could handle it all or careful control of entry speed.
I learned the practice of re-entry when I was in seminary at Meadville Lombard in Chicago, having been away for a month of intensives during freezing cold January (yes, January -- in Chicago!). I went away in the spring, fall, and summer also, but January is what I most remember. I learned that the return back home whether from a week of intensives or a full month was actually a huge thing.
People posted about their re-entry on our class facebook page as they attempted the adjustment from experiences with a group of eager seminarians in Chi-Town to the expectations upon them once they were back at home. It was reported how sometimes all went well and at others, quite disastrous. To survive it all I had to become sensitive to what I and others in my life needed during my re-entry to the gravitational pull of Durham.
And so this week I re-entered ERUUF in a huge way. Not even to what was, but to “what is” in this new now. New for me, new for our staff, and our congregation. Heck, new for our nation. Re-entry has not been easy as I also returned from my sojourn away quite ill from Covid. I’m feeling somewhat better now, though as I write this, I’m still in isolation and awaiting the results of a PCR test to see if I’m actually Covid free.
I’m super aware of the dangers of this re-entry time as I have been warned to be vigilant about my health as this illness is no joke and just as you think you’re okay can quietly wear you out and wear you down. Burn you up from within. Having had such experience with a no-joke illness these past few years I heed the warnings. Tamping down my exuberant excitement, the joy in my heart at being back with our community, at everyone’s new roles -- including my own -- and the beautiful excited faces of our staff, and the challenges which have been lying in wait for me.
This is indeed a beloved place.
Peaceful greetings All.
I look forward to being in your presence soon.
What’s Sustaining Me
Reading: catalog of unabashed gratitude by ross gay. One of my absolute favorite books of poetry, such beautiful funny sad celebratory writing that fills my heart and lifts me up no matter what page I turn to.
Watching: Landscape Artist of the Year. At the gentle insistence of a friend encouraging me to unwind, I started fooling around with watercolors this summer, and binge-watching all the episodes of this sweet British program, found on the free app Tubi TV
Listening to: Discover Weekly by Spotify. A weekly mixtape of “fresh music and deep cuts” selected especially for you by their algorithm if you’re a Spotify subscriber, and updated every Monday. I don’t usually appreciate the presumptions of algorithms, but this is always so spot on (no pun intended) and I so enjoy the selections.
Learning from: The Constitution of the United States of America. It behooves us all to take a look at this from time to time. What’s in it (and not) never ceases to surprise me.
Giving me joy: Being back at ERUUF. So much gratitude, appreciation, and sheer delight.