Community In A Time Of Pandemic

Precious Women of Red Tent Living,

Greetings from the make shift space that has become my new office in a corner of my home. As I type my children who still live at home can be heard just outside my door. The sounds of Xbox online gaming with friends from my 15 year old and the shared laughter from a FaceTime call between my 13 year old and her bestie in Florida feel like small bursts of joy today. A freshly opened box of blue vinyl gloves sits nearby and the last “two pack” of paper towels from my grocery store is at my feet. (Today this felt like winning the scavenger hunt experience of going to the grocery store.)

The unfolding of this crisis has been unstoppable, and we are not done yet. It has seemed to me that every hour something else happens, a new announcement, a new restriction, more cases, more deaths. Wherever we are in the world we are all experiencing the impact of Covid 19 in shared and similar ways, and we are also feeling it in ways unique to us and our family.

As I have connected with many of you I am hearing stories of loss – graduations, weddings, trips, businesses closing, jobs on hold or lost altogether. The presence of fear and anxiety is hourly for most of us. What is coming next, what more will be lost, how will we recover and how long will it take??

Of course I cannot answer any of those questions, but I feel them too. This morning after meeting with a woman whose home was rattled by an earthquake as we were speaking I sat quietly in my chair holding the weight of it all and feeling rattled myself. I lit my candle and spent fifteen minutes doing some yoga, followed by listening to Audrey Assad. I needed the rituals I have learned over the past five years to help ground myself so I could engage the rest of what my day held.

Shared rituals, kindness for our bodies and spiritually enriching practices are all paramount as we move through our days.

Ours is a global sisterhood, we stretch into 187 countries around the world. And, now more than ever we need each other in real ways. There are tangible ways we can help one another:

  • Give money to your local food bank or shelter – go online and find out where to donate in your area.
  • If you are under 60 years of age and healthy reach out to neighbors and ask if you can make grocery or food runs for them.
  • Call people to check in and connect.
  • If you have extra resources be generous – neighbors may not have something that you have extra of right now. I saw a post on Facebook today from a friend who needed something and we headed out to help her. Drop off what is needed at the door, maintain social distancing.
  • Buy what you need, but not more than you need. If you see the WIC symbol and you can choose another brand do so – families that receive WIC funds cannot buy other brands so be mindful and thoughtful as you shop.

We also need to see one another and hear one another’s stories. Resilience is linked with sharing your experiences with compassionate listeners who will respond well, and offer connection and care. This is the heart of our community. We are storied women who support one another, and find respite in gathering together and telling our stories. We believe that in sharing we can learn from one another, encourage one another, and change our world. Right now that change in large ways is tied to how we will offer our presence, to our families, our neighbors, our communities.

During this time of pandemic and isolation we will be gathering in a virtual setting on Sunday afternoons at 4pm CST. We invite you to join us. If you have a laptop computer you only need to click the link below. If you will be using your phone, iPad or tablet you will need to download the “zoom meeting” link from the app store here.

We can gather up to 1000 women in this virtual space, and we would love to fill the room!

Link to the Virtual Room.

You will also find us sharing the virtual space via Facebook Live on the Red Tent Living page. If you prefer to watch, but not participate in the conversation we hope you’ll join us there.

If you are in need of extra support right now, someone to talk with, a counselor or spiritual guide to walk alongside you please let us know. We have resources we can refer you to and we want to help you care well for yourself.

While it is true the virus feels unstoppable and relentless, a larger truth is what can ground us now. I have known God’s faithfulness in the wake of tragedy and trauma, from there I offer you my heart and my presence, I believe His faithfulness is unstoppable. Together we can hold space for one another and those who are able to can lend hope to those in need of it.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday afternoon.

 

Lovingly,

 

Tracy Johnson

Red Tent Living Founder

 


DSC_0512Tracy Johnson is a lover of stories, a reluctant dreamer and the Founder of Red Tent Living. Married for over 33 years, she is mother to five kids and a pastors wife. She loves quiet mornings with hot coffee, rich conversations and slowly savored meals at her favorite restaurants. She is awed that God chose her to mother four girls having grown up with no sisters. She writes about her life and her work here.