Spring cleaning this past week, especially in my home office, has taken on a different flavour this year. I’m sorting through and culling newspaper clippings that I have accumulated over the past four years.

There are (or were) three expandable folders of articles covering a huge range of topics. Some were related to personal interests, with others on social and political issues of the days with a surprising emphasis on truth and reconciliation, environmental issues, and on the new uses of “they/them” in daily language, and most recently articles about democracy. And there are others that offer prescriptions for personal or spiritual growth, and also a bunch from the Faith page, not just on holidays but about the role of religion in current times.

I had saved them because they have at times inspired my writings or my sermons. Or they might still do so in the future.

But there is also one other huge collection that a) I needed to and b) was thrilled to toss out – articles that circled endlessly around the pandemic: the impacts on social/work/school isolation, how to work at home, how to create online congregations and communities, how “work” will be changed, how we had lost the opportunities for shared grief, the challenges and opportunities facing religious institutions, and on and on.

As that entire COVID collection now heads out to the recycling bin, I found myself thinking about how that issue took over our lives and how every day felt like a year. Through that time, I spoke and wrote a lot about the resiliency that is built into us as a human species. I was sharing ideas of patience and hope.

So, here we are, mostly back into our lives with the pandemic now hovering on the edges. Days feel like days again. Still, there are huge challenges in the world around us today that go by different names and we wonder again if they will take us down. But let’s go back to what we just experienced and learned: We are resilient, and we are reminded that patience and hope are indeed our friends.

Shabbat shalom,  Rabbi Allan