Pastor Joanne Martindale
Newsletter #17
First Presbyterian Church Napa
September 30, 2020

Friends,

I wanted to share with you some wonderful resources during these stressful COVID-19 times.

Jan Reynolds is a pastor in our Presbytery. I believe you will enjoy her material.

Resiliency in Hard Times
Rev. Jan Reynolds

2 Corinthians 4:8-18 (Excerpts)

8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…

12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Everybody feels overwhelmed now and again. Our personal life circumstances, societal ills and the Covid crisis can drag us down. At these times it's important (and possible!) to develop higher level resilience.

First, we acknowledge our losses during this time and there are many. See how many you can name. Many are experiencing multiple losses:
  • Plans
  • Employment
  • Art performances
  • Security
  • Childcare
  • Sense of normalcy
  • Societal connection
  • Routine
  • Peace and quiet
  • Health
  • Places to rest and worship
  • Colleagues
  • Loved ones lost through illness/death/moving away
  • Sitting by someone’s bedside
  • Holding my mother’s hand
  • Memorial rituals in person
  • Feeling of possibility
  • My neighborhood/state/country as I thought I knew it
  • Freedom from fear
  • Freedom to roam
  • Travel
  • Consistency in the natural world (fires, flood, hurricanes, winds, heat…)
  • Life as I knew it
  • What you can count on
  • Trust in our govt. institutions
  • Touch!

It’s important to name the many layers of our losses and to recognize that it is natural to have responses to grief. All losses result in grief which affects our mental, emotional, social and physical health.

For example, “Grief Brain” is a real thing: we can feel unfocused, spacey, and foggy. We can forget appointments, words and where we put things. We can feel fatigue and panic. We can feel anxiety about simply going outside. We feel we can’t live up to our own expectations for work and relationship.

  • Physically, we may eat less or more, develop rashes, feel fatigue, draggy or sick.
  • Emotionally we may feel angry, impatient, experience crying jags, laughter jags and walk around like a zombie, feel like life is ebbing.
  • Socially, we may feel more isolated due to zoom, not being able to hug, drop by folks’ houses, stand with our arms around someone’s shoulders. We may feel lonely, needy, and even desperate.
  • Psychologically, you will notice your core wounds are more tender, you may “hit the wall” and feel abandoned by reality.
  • Spiritually, you may feel closer or farther away from God. Grief may bring on a spiritual dry spell due to anger, disappointment and not wanting to spend more quiet time by yourself in prayer and meditation. Especially if you experience God most often within a church building, love hanging out to see people at in-person coffee hour and are used to meeting in person with small groups in church.

All this is NORMAL. It’s important to recognize these reactions for what they are and have a plan.

What creates resiliency?
  • Gratitude and Optimism
  • Having meaning in Life
  • Social network
  • Cultivating positive emotions and finding novelty to delight you.
  • Having structure in life that supports you

Prepare your Resilience Backpack just as you would your To-Go pack! Rely on it when you are in emergency-grief! This allows you to prepare a list of positive experiences that you can intentionally rely on to cultivate gratitude and optimism.

Print out this worksheet (provide with love by thedinnerparty.org – grief support for young adults) and keep it handy! Just the act of asking yourself what actions, patterns or ways of being can make you feel better is important!

Another resource – I’m sure there are many!
The Resilience Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi, Ph.D.:

Resilience comprises those inner strengths of mind and character— both inborn and developed— that enable one to respond well to adversity, including the capacities to prevent stress- related conditions (such as depression or anxiety, or their recurrence), recover faster and more completely from stress and stress-related conditions; and optimize mental wellness and functioning in the various areas of life.

While everyone is resilient to some degree, no one is perfectly resilient, or resilient in all circumstances. Resilience does not mean invulnerability, because anyone can be overwhelmed when circumstances are severe enough. Rather, resilience is about generally working, playing, loving, and functioning at our best possible level in any given situation.

Notice that resilience is a flexible, relative concept. It does not occur in an all-or-none fashion but exists on a continuum, from complete helplessness and vulnerability to surviving, to resilience (optimal coping.)
These strengths and coping mechanisms—protective factors— are what grow when you work on your resilience skills:

  • Sense of autonomy (self-agency)
  • Calm under pressure (equanimity, the ability to regulate stress levels)
  • Rational thought process
  • Self-esteem
  • Optimism
  • Happiness and emotional intelligence
  • Meaning and purpose (believing your life matters)
  • Humor
  • Altruism (learned helpfulness), love, and compassion
  • Character (integrity, moral strength)
  • Curiosity (which is related to focus and interested engagement)
  • Balance (engagement in a wide range of activities, such as hobbies, educational pursuits, jobs, social and cultural pastimes)
  • Sociability and social competence (getting along, using bonding skills, being willing to seek out and commit to relationships, enjoying interdependence)
  • Adaptability (having persistence, confidence, and flexibility; accepting what can’t be controlled; using creative problem-solving skills and active coping strategies)
  • Intrinsic religious faith
  • A long view of suffering
  • Good health habits (getting sufficient sleep, nutrition, and exercise; not abusing alcohol or other substances; maintaining personal hygiene.)


First Presbyterian Church Napa News:
We have the pleasure this Sunday of having our brand new Transitional Executive Presbyter Rev. Eric Beene preach for us during worship. He will also celebrate communion for World Communion Sunday with us.
(Pastor Joanne will be in Louisville, Kentucky serving for five days of military duty).

Rev. Eric Beene’s Biography: 
The Rev. Eric Beene has served as the Transitional Mission Presbyter for Redwoods Presbytery since September, 2020. He has served as pastor to congregations in Savannah, Georgia, and Boston, Massachusetts, and prior to seminary he worked as a community organizer and program manager for a non-profit community development organization. He received his Master of Divinity from Harvard University in 2001 and his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Lewis and Clark College in 1995. Eric lives in Windsor with his wife, Mary, who is the pastor of Windsor Presbyterian Church, and their teenage son, Isaac.

Mission Study Small Groups-We're so excited to look to the future of FPC Napa together with you! Here is what you need to know:
  • Groups will meet once a week for 4 weeks
  • We will meet online and in person (socially distant).
  • Sign up online Oct.4-14 at fpcnapa.org
  • Meetings will begin Oct 18, and end Nov. 14.
Let's dream together!

You are loved,
Pastor Joanne
First Presbyterian Church of Napa
1333 Third Street
Napa CA 94559
Website: fpcnapa.org
Phone: 707.224.8693