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Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

I can scarcely believe we are entering June and summer in Wisconsin. It will be quite a different kind of summer, with the crowded street fairs and festivals that usually mark Milwaukee summer being unsafe during a pandemic. First Church will be online only through the summer as well. We will each need to mourn the loss of the beloved bits of the norm in our own way.

June will still bring beauty, green, sun, and flowers, though. We’ll also each need to find our own paths to joy this June. We might try to let the waking natural world beckon our shy spirits forth into its unfolding.

Our theme for June is “Play.” Play is a spiritual practice, even, and perhaps especially, in a pandemic. It is not irreverent to experience the pleasure of life in the face of death. Indeed, this has always been life’s call. Death is laced into life for all mortals, though sometimes with a heavier hand than others. At times of grief and mourning, it is ever more important to count our blessings, practice gratitude, and remember pleasure. Life contains both beauty and mourning, and connecting with love can help us deal with loss.

This month, I hope you explore the gifts play could bring you and your loved ones. How can you nurture joy in your soul even as you honor grief? What does it look like to make time and space for play? How can play help you heal?

May you find bits of joy, pleasure, and play this June, and use them to care for your heart.

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