“FASHION TIPS for Self-Quarantine During a Global Pandemic” is a series I will post whenever so inspired during the COVID19 pandemic. Today, I begin with…
(1) Do not slouch around the house in pajamas and a robe just because you can. Even if working from home, with no one looking or caring ~ today is a special day! Another day to hope, love, care, share and more… is a good day. BTW, do you like my tie with ostriches wearing baseball caps? I do.
By the way, I have a new book out: “Loneliness Book of World Records” I will post more about it later, but if you wish to get a head start, here is the link to purchasing a kindle or paper version. I kept it affordable knowing that, for many, these are financial lean times.
WE CELEBRATED “COMMUNION” WITH CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS, SKIDDLES & JELLY BEANS during our Congregational Church of Patchogue Easter Sunday Children Church Chat Zoom Meeting. The kids held up the Easter eggs I had sent them to color in. They showed & told about Easter baskets & dinner in their homes & about the first Easter & what it might mean today to see new life arise from deadly situations. There are grownups in our church who have not missed an Easter service in 50, 60, 70 years. Many of these kids have not missed an Easter service in our church in their entire lives. They were so happy to see each other once again. The rituals of church are patterns that the kids find comfort in. Showing and telling; laughing; raising their virtual hand on their screen; listening to Mr. Craig sing and play music for them as he does each Sunday ~ all of this and more makes an impression on their souls; calms their minds; mitigates their fear and isolation. We formed and are continuing to form our own little church. The door to the chapel is their laptop or cellphone. Different church, same Jesus. Our bodies were in separate homes ~ but our spirits were in the same place, if only for 30 minutes.
Bless, Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter
Noah was going about his business one day ~ thinking about food, family, work, politics and whatnot ~ when God spoke to him and said that something horrendous was about to break loose. It wasn’t exactly a global pandemic; but it might as well have been. It was going to be a flood, the likes of which would change the world! Deniers, cynics, politicians and religious leaders had their doubts ~ but God trusted Noah to act promptly and decisively. God instructed Noah to build an ark (read: big boat). Noah replied that there was so little water in their neck-of-the-globe that they even named puddles! Just kidding. God was not in the mood for lousy jokes.
Noah went to work on the ark. He gathered his family and two representatives of every living creature ~ along with some vegetables, fruits, flowers, weeds and house plants. Even mosquitoes. Almost forgot to mention spiders.
People thought Noah was nuts. Paranoid. Delusional. Thought it was a hoax; a prank; a lie. Even Noah wasn’t completely sure. But God had a plan. And Noah had a timely, thoughtful and somewhat expensive response. Lumber has never been cheap. But Noah’s labor was his gift to God and to the world. Even if they didn’t say thank you.
The ark was built. Human and other creatures entered, reluctantly. The first official complaints were about sleeping accommodations and the smell. Oh, the smell!
Even as the flood waters rose about the treetops ~ they hated staying indoors. Outdoors was no safe option, but they hated indoors nonetheless. Forty days is a long, long time to spend with the likes of giraffes, aardvarks and flies. Don’t you think? Tempers flared. People snored. All creatures great and small began to lose weight. Some people got seasick. A human cough sent ripples of fear through the ark. Children languished. Got better. Languished again. People tried and failed to keep social distance. Not being drowned was a plus; but survival was no picnic. Prayers and smoke floated ever upward. Some people choked on both. They formed a community; a little world floating atop a larger world. They settled-in against the shock of it all happening so fast. They lived on morsels of food, faith, hope and promise that things would get better. They waited. And they waited.
And they remembered. They remembered better times that were taken for granted: the feel of a leaf; of sand between toes; of drifting off to sleep with nothing particular on their mind. Then they woke with memory of the freakiness of what was happening. OMG! Was etched on the inside wall of the ark by someone who preferred to remain anonymous. They fought a strong impulse to hoard and withdraw into themselves. They couldn’t defend themselves against the realization that their wellbeing was, and perhaps always was, dependent on the wellbeing of others.
Eventually, the waters began to subside. A dove returned to the ark with a sprig of an olive breach in its beak. Land appeared. A rainbow appeared. The ark settled in the mud of earth, that was not yet solid and stable under their feet. We don’t know what the world looked like when they disemb-ark-ed. But the aftermath couldn’t have been pretty. The world was changed forever. So were they. Naturally.
The first thing Noah did when he stood on ground after over a month of quarantine and waiting-out-the-storm was to build an altar and thank God for their survival. They had made it! And we will too! The global crisis had affected their body; but it had not infected their soul. Their story of travail and survival has survived and for thousands of years has been available as our teacher. They way in which we suffer and survive together will change the world. Our willingness to sacrifice on behalf of each other and assist each other will also legendary. Pandemics and floods will come again in time. What we do and don’t do today will immensely help people tomorrow. Suffer well. And recover in joy and in peace.
THERE IS A MARINA WHERE I GO TO WALK ALMOST DAILY TO RELIEVE ANXIETY, ETC. AND I FOUND THIS SINKING SHIP & I THOUGHT: This is not an omen. I too am a boat; partly submerged; partly afloat. Sometimes I am a mast with no sail; or a sail with no mast. Under my submerged parts you may find barnacles and grit. So what? I am a boat that has been around a while, and yet is still a candidate for restoration. I have found a humble port in a storm that shall pass. I may need your help bailing me out. But, together, we shall be released. Peace, Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter
REMEMBER TOILET PAPER? In July, 2018, the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York, tried (and failed, but so what?) to build the World’s Largest Toilet Paper Pyramid at a street festival called Alive After Five that lasted between 5 and 9pm. We received no help from the makers of Scotts TP, even though we used only their product (septic-safe and we needed uniformity of size and density of rolls). But all together with volunteers, solicitors of TP at shopping centers by the Girl Scouts, etc. we had over 1,400 people involved. We had an engineer working on the project as well. Yes. an engineer. We built it; unbuilt it; and gave it all away in 4 hours to a homeless veteran home, a domestic violence shelter and various food pantries. We did this, in part, because toilet paper is classified as a “luxury” and cannot be written into grant requests. We will try to build it again this coming summer with the remnants of what people are now hoarding and will, by then, donate-it-forward. Peace, Dwight Lee Wolter
“IS IT OKAY TO GIVE YOU SOME MONEY RIGHT NOW?” the woman in the distance shouted to me from across a parking lot. Well, that was a first. As I got closer, I recognized her. We have a mutual friend. She runs a cleaning business and was entering a club that is one of her customers. She wanted to help our “Soup Kitchen To-Go” program since the dining room is closed during the pandemic. She has difficulty getting cleaning supplies; people are cutting back on house cleaning; and still she reached into her pocket to help others. As we parted, I reminded her that our food pantry is available to her (as well as to you) ~ as things may (as always) get worse before they get better.
A former legislator who was decidedly against “gay marriage” and accused of looting taxpayers by lavish spending to make his office look like Downton Abbey has now come out as gay and is thanking LGBTQ activists for their good work but his family didn’t invite him home for Easter. Here comes responses like anger, scorn, retribution and forgiveness.
People are complicated. People have mixed emotions and irrational thoughts. People in recovery from addictions often hate themselves for what they have done, even more, sometimes, than the people they have wronged. Jews can be anti-Semitic. People of color can be racist. Survivors of abuse often internalize the aggressor, taking their side. The will to live coexists with self-destructive tendencies. Survivors experience guilt concurrent with gratitude. People often find it harder to forgive themselves than to forgive others ~ while others condemn people for things they do and have done themselves. The “devil” sits on one shoulder whispering sweet and assuring words in one ear while the “angel” does the same in the other.What do you think?
Dwight Lee Wolter
We want you to know that the deacons preparing the elements for communion this Sunday will be doing so under very hygienic conditions. The knives, bread, wine and juice will be handled with care and cleanliness.
Also, as people come forward to receive communion; the servers will have clean hands, and will be wearing plastic gloves, and the servers themselves will take a piece of bread and place it in your hand ~ thus avoiding your hand accidentally touching other pieces of bread.
This all comes under the “better safe than sorry” precaution AND out of an abundance of love and concern for our church members and guests.
Finally, if you are sick with fever or coughing; please stay home and get well. If you need food or medicine pick-up ~ call me on my cell at 631-891-9908 and we will see if we may be of assistance.
Bless, Pastor Dwight.
I DROVE TO MT. SINAI, NEW YORK, after being home with a cold & a bad case of cabin fever for a few days and went to a favorite place to stroll silently, peacefully and gratefully and I came across this. Perhaps it was because I was physically weak and drained by illness that this made me feel even sicker. But then, in my spiritual health, I saw the poison power of the word “VERSUS” and in my mind I changed it to ” AND” as in “USA AND EVERYBODY.” Hope is eternal. Peace is possible. Let’s realize it together. Love, Dwight Lee Wolter