Have you experienced or witnessed moments of love throughout our current situation? Perhaps you’d like to share it and thus inspire some of us who could use a smile.
…find ways to offer and share moments of joy, hope, and love in a world that needs as much of it as it can get. Let’s look around and within for all the ways to “See What Love Can Do!”
– Rev. Patricia Farris
It’s been a tradition that I would wake at 5am and head over to Palisades Park in Santa Monica and set up a keyboard, guitar, and sound system and play that classic Beatles song “Here comes the Sun” as the sun comes up for our Easter Sunrise Service. This year, we are practicing “Safe at Home” living and will be doing online worship later at 10:00 a.m. A group of us decided we didn’t want to wake up to an Easter sunrise without this beloved song. So here is our gift to the 1st UMC Santa Monica community. Special thanks to Tricia Guerrero, Jack McHugh, Meg and Molly Smith, and Owen Ing, along with everyone else for your help to make this video! Enjoy!
Reflections by the Church Community
By Jerry Brown
The social distancing rules to which we are now subjected…the stay at home orders…are easily understood by most people. They are intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are designed, in other words, to keep us apart.
Margaret and I have found that, in some perverse way, they are actually bringing people closer together!
Old and decrepit as we are (well…old and decrepit as I am!) we have been the recipients of several instances of caring from younger people reaching out to us in love and friendship.
Case in point: Several weeks ago, a young woman and her three children moved into the house next door to us. We met her only once when we welcomed her to the neighborhood. Then came the ‘stay-indoors’, ‘stay six feet apart’ advisory and shortly thereafter we found a note taped to our front door from our new neighbor telling us that if there was anything we needed…from the supermarket or pharmacy and the likes…to let her know and she’d try to get it for us.
At that time as I say we had met her just once, briefly, and couldn’t even remember her surname. But there she was, virtually a stranger, holding out the hand of friendship to us…offering to do some supermarket shopping for us so that we wouldn’t need to expose ourselves to the hated virus.
Other nearby neighbors have been to our door to offer their assistance as well. And a number of people in countries many thousands of miles away (Britain, Canada and Australia, for example)…longtime friends with whom we don’t communicate as often as we should… were quick to email their love and to promise continued prayers for our wellbeing.
(As if Britain, Canada and Australia didn’t have their own COVID-19 problems!)
One potential problem for us…the well-publicized problem of finding toilet paper…was solved for us from another unlikely source: Dutch Harbor, Alaska! (Say again!) That’s right…Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Chrissie, my daughter-in-law, has a cousin in that barren township in Unalaska Bay on the shores of the Bering Sea. They talk together often and in a recent telephone call, she mentioned that toilet paper had become the Number One target of hoarders and was well nigh impossible to find in her local supermarkets in San Dimas.
Days later, a huge cardboard box (about four feet by four feet, according to my son, Paul ) arrived on her doorstep. It contained nothing but…you guessed it…rolls of toilet paper.
Apparently, the windswept salmon canning Bering Sea community (think Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch) had no shortage of the suddenly precious product. What could be more natural than that he would buy a bunch to help his cousin in her time of need? Immediately Paul drove in from the San Gabriel Valley to deliver a dozen or so rolls to Mom and Dad.
People helping people. People reaching out to say “Hey, neighbor, if you need me I’m here:” or “I may be geographically removed from you but I still think of you and want to help.”
You may be able to keep human beings six feet apart. But love and caring will never recognize such manmade limitations.
By Sam Johnson
Stuck at home during this crisis, it’s no surprise I haven’t needed to visit an ATM in over a month. But what I didn’t expect was a baking and bartering mania that has made me feel like a prairie homesteader. It began six weeks ago when my wife Julie and I traded a box of strawberries for a small container of sourdough starter from a bike mechanic friend.
We knew nothing about sourdough. Where do you keep your starter? How do you feed it? How do you bake with it? A deep dive online set off a number of experiments: basic bread, then crispy crust, chewy crust, bread flour, whole grain, whole wheat, rye. And since we had the flour – much of it ordered online from a family-run mill in Kentucky when local stores ran out – we (Julie) also baked biscuits, banana bread, scones and, most miraculously, fig newtons. (You cut the dough into long strips, spread the fig paste, fold the strips lengthwise to make flattened tubes, then cut the tubes into cookies. After baking, you STEAM the cookies for several hours so they stay soft. It’s involved, but it’s not like we have plans.)
Our barter operation has been comparatively simple: we hang a bag on the front door with the thing we are trading. You pick it up and leave the thing you’re giving away. So far, we have traded banana bread for parchment paper, which is important for regular bread baking. We swapped some of our biscuits and newtons for a couple of pounds of tri-tip (that was a sweet deal for us). And a few weeks ago, we halved Jane (our sourdough starter, named after the mechanic it came from) and traded it for a tremendous bunch of Swiss chard.
So while we are dutifully isolating ourselves, worrying about our friends and family and everyone else in the world, we are staying busy, staying connected, and still making surprising, delicious discoveries every day. The future may be uncertain, but right now, at least, there is good bread. What have you got to trade?
By Ann Wilson
I am doing “telework” as a result of the COVID-19 situation. It basically means that I am working from home—even more hours than before, with my limited wireless connection, and a hastily put together office setup. It’s hard to create a line between work and not work. On top of other stresses in my life right now, and the news reminding us of how bad and dangerous life is, it is almost too much for me. Almost. The love of family, friends and even strangers is helping me hang on. One morning, when I got to my “office” there was a water glass with flowers in it next to my laptop. Lauryn, my stepdaughter, had left them there for me.
Another day, I managed to take an afternoon walk to try to de-stress, and some kids had made a chalk hopscotch drawing urging passers-by to “Take a Break.” Thank you, kids. I did!