Hi lovelies! How the hell are you?
Sorry I’ve been MIA. A combination of day job/some mild depression I’ve been working through (feeling much better, thanks)/our dog dying/travel/generally stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-done-late-pandemic vibes. But I’m super excited to share some things with you, including the cover of The Book!!! And: a peek inside the first chapter.
The other week, Carmen and I arrived at SFO at midnight after flying home from visiting family on the East coast. I was tired and cranky. It was 3am to my body, and I had to preach early the next morning, and also figure out how to shape the prayers of the people after a week of multiple emergencies in the headlines: Russia had started a war of aggression in Ukraine. The Texas governor ordered social workers to bring parents up on child abuse charges for seeking lifesaving gender-affirming care for their trans kids. The Don’t Say Gay bill was advancing in the Florida state legislature. And even more Trump shenanigans made the news, shenanigans it didn’t seem he would face any repercussions for, ever. Why do the wicked prosper, oh Lord?
Our luggage took forever to come down the chute. My darling husband who had come out in the middle of the night so we wouldn’t have to Lyft helped us wrestle suitcases into the car, but before he was even pulling away from the curb he started to tell me about all the emergencies back home. “There’s drama inside and outside our house. Rafe had a bad accident at work; he just got home. And there are cops in front of our house arresting some guy.”
I blew up. “Can I get one goldurned minute please? I literally just landed.”
I pride myself on my executive functioning in times of distress–I’m good in a crisis. But when too many crises pile up, my executive functioning goes haywire. You can almost see the springs sproinging from my head and the smoke pouring from my ears as my eyes become pinwheels.
That is when I need to remind myself: what is the emergency here? Are any of the things happening really emergencies? Is it actually my emergency? What is the next right thing to do?
Usually the answer is: drink a glass of water. Possibly: brush my teeth. Then: pray for what I can do to be revealed (which might be: nothing at all). These three things have rarely led me astray.
As of next week, it’s been a solid two years of sirens going in our hive-mind. We’ve been in emergency mode more or less the whole time, the various risks and threats blobbing into one big red DANGER sign flashing on and off. But with mask mandates rolling back and falling caseloads, it might be hard to talk our brains into coming off high alert. There’s always a new emergency to take the place of the old ones and keep us adrenalinized and fretful.
The opening chapter of my new book is called There Are Very Few Emergencies. It’s something I actually believe on my best days, and repeat to myself on all the other ones. One of my favorite book characters ever is a minister from a Robertson Davies novel, who is called to the scene of a murder in the middle of the night.
He doesn’t race to the scene wild-haired with his PJs peeking out of his raincoat. He takes time to dress, wash, and compose himself before he gets there. He knows that whomever he meets at the other end will need his composure—even if he would have to fake it in the face of the calamitous.
The last couple of years have called on us all to show up as that solid someone-for-others (and in many cases, show up for ourselves) in the middle of the night. And really: when we look back on many of the things we thought at the time were emergencies, 20/20 hindsight reveals that they were actually emerge-and-SEES. Ruptures with a status quo that wasn’t working. Opportunities to step into growth. I ask you:
What is one emergency you have survived in the past couple of years
that turned out to be an emerge-and-see?
What did the calamitous reveal, even heal?
You can answer that question here on my Facebook page (look for the entry linking this newsletter) or on my Insta page. Get into the chat and teach, comfort, support one another. Let’s form a little community of Emergers who can give each other courage to keep going through life as it unfolds and astounds us.
And now, are you ready for the book cover for How to Begin When the World is Ending? Drum roll please….
I love it! I hope you do, too.
Hey guess what? How to Begin won't publish till November but it is already available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s barfy but true that Amazon pre-order numbers REALLY matter to how willing smaller book retailers are to pick up a book. So will you think about going ahead and ordering it? If your conscience prevents you from giving Jeff Bezos even more filthy luchre, you can also pre-order directly from Broadleaf Books.
If you are wanting even more Molly morsels here are some clickable things I have been up to lately:
Ok, that's enough for now. Remember to go here or here and tell us all what your latest emergency was, and how you emerged-and-saw. And/or post this newsletter on your own social media with your personal story. We’re here to help each other home.
ps you made it to the very end! Here are some bonus photos, of Carmen and her friend M. puppysitting our friend Jennifer's new service dog in training, Dana. You're welcome. Our lovely, ancient dog Boston went home to God a couple of weeks ago, and what is better when you are grieving than a reminder that life is always beginning again?
Friends, Family, Colleagues & Readers I just haven’t met yet.