Offering Our Gifts

By Amy Moehnke

Within the first few days of the “Stay at Home” mandate being implemented, I found myself feeling, honestly, quite “useless”. I generally live a pretty fast paced, Go Go Go life that’s filled with interactions that call me to use my gifts in ways that I (hope) are helpful and life-giving to others. Suddenly the only people I could use my gifts with were the two other humans who live in my house and the family dog. The dog seemed to be taking full advantage of my desire to be of service to others, and my family was in many ways grateful that my attention could be more turned toward them, but still I longed for a way to share my gifts with the wider world and struggled to know how to do so.

Now some of this, admittedly, is about the fact that I struggle with quiet, and with rest, and with more time to reflect than things to do…But at the end of the day, I think we all desire to be “used well”; we all desire to feel like we matter, like what we are doing is somehow impacting the world for good.

“Lord, we thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.” (From A General Thanksgiving, BCP, 836). Accomplishments that satisfy and delight us. Yes. This speaks to the notion of vocation- those things we do in our lives that come from our deepest, truest selves; the ways of living (paid or not) that express who we are when we are living most fully into the person God made us to be… This pandemic has forced everyone to re-examine that notion of vocation.

Some have too many vocations that they’re expected to be doing all at once: the parents/caregivers who are trying to work, AND manage the children’s schooling, AND make dinner, AND do laundry, all while everyone is on top of each other. Some have vocations that put them at risk of getting sick but still are compelled (by their own conscience or an outside entity that deemed them “essential”) to continue showing up: the folks in the medical field, the grocery store workers, the people delivering our packages. Some are in a season of life that was supposed to be a reward after a life of hard work: the retired who were excited about volunteering more at places that are now closed, or looking forward to caring for grandkids who live in places they now can’t get to. Everything is kind of topsy-turvy right now and lots of things are hard.

And yet, in the midst of it all, people’s gifts are emerging. People are finding creative ways of offering the truest parts of themselves to the larger world in ways that are unexpected, surprising, and life-giving. There is more true vulnerability, levity, and honesty being expressed than I’ve ever seen before. We are laughing, crying, praying, singing, cooking, sewing and sharing with a kind of wild abandon that must make God’s heart glad! It is these things that brighten the dull day! It is these things that gladden the sad heart! It is these things that show us we WILL get through this topsy-turvy time TOGETHER.

I’ve known for a long time that the folks affiliated with St. David’s are a mighty remarkable crew. The cream of the crop, the salt of the earth, the real and true lovers of God and humanity who make this world better every time they show up- that’s how I often describe the people of St. David’s. Their gifts tumble out, too many to count. But I want to highlight a few of them now, those gifts that our people are offering that have especially resonated with me. I hope these can bless you as they have blessed me.

Laurie Worsham is ending each day with a reflection highlighting some of the highs and lows that day brought. They are HILARIOUS, very relatable, and filled with her honest reactions to life with two kids, a husband, a variety of living creatures, and HERSELF. I have

laughed out loud more than once when reading these Facebook posts. In all the years I’ve known Laurie I had no idea she was as funny and witty as she is showing herself to be in these writings.

Claire Corrigan is doing honest and awkward cooking videos that show her (in real time) cooking something for her family. #honestandawkwardcooking became such a hit that a friend helped her create her own Facebook Page, AwkwardKitchen, where you can tune in several times a week for a funny, helpful, self-deprecating cooking lesson. I’ve known Claire for a while and had no idea that she was as committed to the particular kind of vulnerability that she’s demonstrating right now.

And then we have the blessed mask producers who are sewing cloth masks for the masses with joyful abandon. Many started early on, responding to an obvious need by doing something that came quite easily to them. Anne Ellzey, Kathy Cramer, Erin McClure, and Heidi Trevithick have all made masterpieces that look amazing and keep people safe.

And finally, we have the music makers, those brave souls who have been willing to sing and/or play an instrument live on Facebook for (almost) all the world to see. #quarantunechallenge called on people to offer their musical gifts and there were many St. David’s folks who participated! Ed Dorotik, Laura Hernandez-Ehrisman, Jennifer Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Kari Moore, Phillip Owen, Maureen, Casey and Jonah Papovich, Rick Patrick, Chuck Treadwell, and Ray Trono all sang or played their way through hits by John Prine, Cat Stevens, and other lesser known artists who hold a special place in these musicians’ hearts. I’ve heard all of these people offer their talents at one church function or another, but it was particularly poignant to experience them in this context as they bridged the gap between my home and theirs by generously (albeit sometimes nervously) sharing their craft.

This is by no means an exhaustive list- I tried to crowdsource so as not to leave anyone out, but if I did, I’m so sorry! And please let me know what you’re offering in this time of social distancing. I really want to know, and I want to share it with others if you’re comfortable with that. And if you wish you could offer a gift, but things are just too hard right now, please know that THAT IS ABSOLUTELY OKAY. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. Rest in God, and enjoy these offerings, given freely for you. And to those who said yes to being included today, thank you. You might not think that what you’re offering is anything special. We believe otherwise! We are grateful to you and pray that you will continue to let your light shine in this dark time, in whatever quirky, unexpected way you’re being called to do so.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Robin Latimer

    Amy—I have observed this turning to the Lord for praise and prayer and this burgeoning of creativity as well over here at St. Mark’s and among the folks I live with. I think your point about the overly-vocationalized is so true. Those who love someone so burdened should take the time to see and begin to help now and after this time. As well, those who now have had a good long visit with their own families can see what needs to happen to gain all the joys of family when they return to their external work. It is important to pay attention to those in our home. Evangelizing is certainly something we can do through Zoom and FB, and many need us. Thanks for the blog. I’m a former parishioner who always keeps up with St. David’s . Robin Latimer

  2. Lynda Young Kaffie

    Thank you, Amy. I take with me:
    Rest in God, and enjoy these offerings, given freely for you.

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