Friday, May 01, 2020

DE Ponderings

by Kevin Kessler

I’ve often hesitated in beginning a project because I’ve thought, “It’ll never turn out to be even remotely like the good idea I have as I start.” I could just “feel” how good it could be. But I decided that, for the present, I would create the best way I know how and accept the ambiguities.
--Fred Rogers

I am prone to procrastinating, sometimes because I have something else I’d rather do than the project that needs to be completed. Other times I procrastinate for the reason Mister Rogers suggests. What I want to do may not turn out as I hope it will or it may not have the intended impact, therefore, why attempt it.

The Mister Rogers quote comes from a book full of his philosophy and a chapter entitled Creativity and Play. Why attempt something that leaves us uncertain about the impact of the outcome, or how it will be perceived? My response is this: to give creativity the opportunity to shine as we play with a variety of possibilities. As creativity blossoms so do those engaging in and impacted by it.

I enjoy writing creatively. I’m not a skilled writer so I can easily procrastinate this creative process. Recently, I decided to put my writing inadequacies aside and playfully write. I created an essay that is still being refined but I enjoyed the opportunity to be creative. Perhaps this exercise will entice me to do more, to move beyond procrastination and engage in an enjoyable activity regardless of whether what I write has any impact. I am accepting the ambiguity.

Ambiguity has become the new normal amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. When will we be able to worship together in the same space? Now that we are worshipping together virtually, what online platform is best? How do we virtually practice worship with integrity? How do we continue the mission of the church, and/or the congregation in which we participate? How do we continue to provide moments of connection with our friends and family who find technology challenging?

As I listen, read, and observe, the responses to the previous questions vary widely. No two contexts are the same, thus the need for a variety of approaches. Arriving at workable solutions requires ingenuity, creativity.

I’m amazed at the level of creativity in the IL/WI District that is being revealed as we navigate these ambiguous moments in history. Leaders and participants of congregations have put procrastination on the shelf and immediately began putting into practice forms of meeting together virtually not or infrequently used before. Successful outcomes were not guaranteed. Yet, stories abound of connecting with people well beyond the limits of a worship space and names in the directory.

Ironically, a pandemic that forced us to distance from one another socially has opened the door for increased connections. This benefit is the result of using creative means, which we did not hesitate to act on immediately. We’ve done, and are doing, the best that we can. And with the results we are experiencing, the future remains bright, even as we move into it accepting the ambiguities that await us.