The other day I was participating in a video conference with some other clergy, my first one with Zoom. I was surprised and delighted that I got the technology to work. The picture was very good, and the sound was clear. I noted with interest what my colleagues were saying about how they are coping with doing online services. The challenges that they are having with church music, the time spent in preparing digital services and their concerns about receiving adequate revenue through donations.
I also noted, with interest, the background spaces from where these people were speaking from, the colors, pictures and decorations on the walls, the books on the bookshelves behind them.
Indeed, being able to complete this first video tele-conference felt like a small victory. This was a moment of achievement for me in a time where there are great challenges along with feelings of disillusionment.
We know that we are living through a very turbulent time. The medical pandemic has turned our lives upside down, our economy has suffered greatly. We have to change routines for going to work, going to the store, even going to church. A lot of our activities have been greatly curtailed. We are spending enormous amounts of time at home.
Where can happiness be found?
Like many people, I have had to look hard for it in new dimensions. Sitting on my back patio, watching my dogs play, seeing a Cardinal, noticing the emerging blossoms of my peach tree and wondering will I get a fair amount of peaches this year.
I have learned again the serendipity of becoming reacquainted again with old friends, not seen in years, through the internet.
Although I prefer seeing people in person and enjoying their company, I am grateful for the new mediums that allow us to be connected to others, to those whom we love, those we cherish who are at great distance from us. This becomes even more imperative during this present time.
Stanford University Social Psychologist Jennifer Aaker noted:
Happiness is about the present, and meaning is about linking the past, present and future. When people spend time thinking about the future or past, the more meaningful, and less happy, their lives become. On the other hand, if people think about the here and now, they are happier. https://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/january/meaningful-happy-life-010114.html
I find great wisdom in that statement. If I’m thinking about what I have to do tomorrow or next week, what continuing education event I need to register for, what license that I need to renew, then I’m about being busy, I’m about doing.
However, when I’m still and I can concentrate on the visual beauty of a rose and appreciate its fragrance. When I can smile at a toddler learning how to balance in walking with its mother or father, when I can appreciate the sun rising as I drive on the way to work, I can experience a moment outside the busy frantic pace.
I can experience a moment of Kairos, of divine time.
Right now, we have a deficit of Kairos time.
All the more reason to pay attention to what needs attention in order to stay well, but also pay attention to what is needed for us to ensure a happy heart and a healthy soul.
We need it now more than ever.
Now if I can just get over my startle response to the ding of instant messaging on my computer!
May it be so.