August 20, 2020
Happy Friday Calvary. It's my privilege to write to you this week in our pastoral letter.
This week I wanted to talk to you about passion.
When I was ten, I wrote and printed "The Alice Gazette" complete with two stories about what was happening in our house. I even inserted a picture of myself, braces and all, and printed it on yellow paper and distributed it. (As if the audience- my family- couldn't remember what I looked like.) The Alice Gazette was short-lived, but it was a creation that came to be not because someone told me to do it, but because I wanted to. My passion for writing, storytelling, and sharing those stories is a part of me and showed up at an early age.
I love looking at children and watching what they do when they're bored, because that's often when their passion comes out. Do they line up action figures on a make-believe football field and call out plays (a future coach)? Do they arrange stuffed animals on a staircase and conduct them like they're a choir? (What my husband did when he was a kid.) Do they create campaign signs for themselves, giving a stump speech and telling their stuffed animals why they should vote for them (future politician)? Do they love setting up a lemonade stand and a yard sale (future business owner)?
Over the years, I've tinkered with different formats of my storytelling passion, and most of them were happy accidents (to quote the painter Bob Ross). In college I dabbled in creative writing but quickly tired of the elitism involved. Then I got into photography. I worked at a newspaper and a magazine, but I didn't like the lack of faith stories in journalism. And then I fell into writing stories for church which I loved. God led me to seminary (and I thought I was leaving behind communications for good) and then I fell into sermon writing, where we weave the stories of the Bible and stories of our lives together. Boom. Now I am hooked onto the strange combination of communications and ministry. During a pandemic Matt and I are experimenting with video storytelling. (I won't say I fell into it- more like I was dragged.) The process is much more technical and laborious, but the results are impactful.
I will be honest- I have struggled with my communication know-how and skill during this pandemic. Often it was seeing Calvary members in person that spurred my creativity for projects, and no offense to my cats, but they don't have quite the same effect. With nearly all communication to you being digital, not being able to advertise much, and not having these ministry connections with you has made my job harder. Perhaps you're experiencing something similar in your role. And quite often I have been beating myself up for not meeting this incredibly high standards for myself- as if I was ever trained on communications in a pandemic.
But one thing that does not die, no matter our environment, is our passion. Trust me, it's still there, probably buried beneath layers of exhaustion and worry. I find that even though I am exhausted, my passion for storytelling is still there, and that is what carries me forward.
We all have passion for something inside of us. You'll know what it is because it's something you come back to again and again, even if that passion comes with obstacles or frustrations. Even if you work in a monotonous job, your passion will come out in your free time. Perhaps it's cooking or baking, and even if a recipe fails, you try again anyway. Maybe it's crafting and creating. Perhaps it's hospitality and having folks over for meals, and you've decided to do dinner parties over Zoom or drop off homemade goodies.
This pandemic has taken a lot from us. But one thing is cannot take is our God-given passions and talents. Whatever your passion is, I want you to trust it during this time. Trust that you are talented and gifted and fully capable of surviving a pandemic. And especially on those days when you don't feel like you're doing much at all, remember that you're needed very much because you bring something totally unique to this world.
Journeying with you,