CCL Weekly Update – 6/5/2020
Breathe it all in … and we can do more, together
As we hear the reports of what is happening all around us, we are spinning from the disbelief, horror, and feelings of helplessness that swamp us. How can it be that still today our Black brothers and sisters are killed by excessive violence from authorities meant to protect us all? How can the evils of racism still be so deep in our culture and in the structures that we rely on? We must do more, together. We are committed to that as people. CommunityCare of Lyme is committed to that. “Just breathe”, we think to ourselves. But that is complicated. And it is not enough.
In her sermon on May 31st, Rev. Catherine E. Schulyer of the Catskill, Palenville and Quarryville United Methodist Churches, titled her sermon “Breathe In, Breath Out”. She remembered as a gift the words of a calming church leader during a recent time of unrest, urging community members “to claim the utterly basic human need for breath, and remembering that need, to let go of some of the stress that is swirling around us and among us.” Today, just breathing isn’t so simple, she says, and we hear her:
On May 25th, George Floyd died on the ground, with his neck beneath a police officer’s knee, saying, “I can’t breathe.” Even as we remember Eric Garner’s “I can’t breathe”, as he was choked to death by a police officer six years earlier, we are somehow stunned. As we breathe in everything we are witnessing, we know that it is not new. We know we must do something.
In cities across the country amidst mostly peaceful protests, acts of violence and police responses have filled the air with smoke. Residents of city neighborhoods are struggling to just breathe. Many of us are also fighting to catch our breath, even as we may be humbled by our own struggles here in the Upper Valley. But we must take deep, deep breaths.
Rev. Schuyler reminds us, “Breathing air into our lungs is basic to being human. Breathing is how we mark the beginning and end of a human’s life.” Breathing is how we fill our hearts and spirits. It is what we need to begin our hard work – whatever that may look like for each of us – every day.
Dear friend, Stephanie Carney, shared just the right words in the midst of this whirlwind, as she so often does:
Breathe by Lynn Ungar
Breathe, said the wind.
How can I breathe at a time like this,
when the air is full of the smoke
of burning tires, burning lives?
Just breathe, the wind insisted.
Easy for you to say, if the weight of
injustice is not wrapped around your throat,
cutting off all air.
I need you to breathe.
I need you to breathe.
Don’t tell me to be calm
when there are so many reasons
to be angry, so much cause for despair!
I didn’t say to be calm, said the wind,
I said to breathe.
We’re going to need a lot of air
to make this hurricane together.
The “hurricane” affects each of us differently. And each of us uses the air we breathe in to fill our sails, fueling us to move forward … to make our own special contributions in our world. Right now, we’re hearing lots of questioning: What can I offer? What can I do, now? This quote, from Tyler Norris, a healthcare leader and passionate advocate for an equitable world, feels like a reassuring reminder for us in these difficult and now turbulent days of our lives:
“Everyone has been touched by suffering and everyone is essential to someone’s happiness. In playing our unique roles, we get to bring our pain, joy, lived experience, diversity and of course, kindness, as our greatest gifts to one another.”
As we work through the disappointment and sadness that hearing about the bad things happening in our country brings … As we learn more about the real pain and injustice that too many experience – even right here near home … As we do our best to find ways to help change what’s broken … Let’s also remember to breathe and be thankful for the goodness that’s ours each day, right here.
Let’s fill our sails, believing that our thoughtful actions will be appropriate and helpful. That when we make mistakes we will have the chance to try again. And we will. That we always have good and faithful people who serve our community with grace, kind hearts, and empathy. And that each of us is a gift to one another.
We are thinking of you during this season of emerging growth that, despite its beauty, is steeped in sadness, for the pain and anger affecting so many.
With love and great hope,
Patty and Martha, on behalf of the CommunityCare of Lyme Board
603-795-0603 (CCL office)
Coming up this next week:
More and more is opening up for us to enjoy – both out “in the world” and from home. As you start getting out and about, please be thoughtful about how to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Wear a mask when you are in public. Continue to keep a safe distance. Stay home if you are sick at all. Check out the growing listing of events on the Lyme Events Calendar online. We invite you to let us know about other things you think we should share. Following are just a few highlights.
- Monday (6/8): Lyme School Graduation 8:30pm at the Fairlee Drive-In. Look for more information from the school about how to help celebrate the graduating class.
*NOTE: For any event that’s not online, please be prepared with a mask and clean hands or clean gloves.
We are here for you.
When you seek information, help, or ways to help others, contact us.
The Lyme Community Help Line:
call 795-0603 or email Help@CCLyme.org
Lyme Food Pantry or prepared meals. Deliveries or errands. Help around home. You name it.