Wise words shared by our Chaplain

Today a message went out to students, faculty, staff, and parents/families to announce that no later than March 30, Wake Forest will communicate decisions about plans to resume in-person classes, as well as plans for Commencement. Read the message here.

I do not have any new information on any other questions or topics, other than what is already out on our FAQ. Know our crisis team continues to work on lots of other angles of the coronavirus situation and will continue to communicate as there is news or updates. We will keep our call center open through tomorrow 8:45 am-5 pm for any questions not answered on the FAQ (do look there first for answers if you can). That number is 336.758.7500. I did see on our coronavirus website (bottom of main page) that NC now has 97 cases of coronavirus in 22 counties.

Yesterday my talented colleagues in social media shared a wonderful video of campus with this message:

#MotherSoDear misses you, too. Wherever you are right now, you’re a Deac. We’re family. And we’ll get through this together.

May that bring a little comfort to your Deacs. Speaking of comfort, I am grateful for many things about Wake Forest, but I am especially grateful for our Chaplain, Tim Auman, and his wonderful staff of campus ministers who provide pastoral care to students, faculty, and staff in times of need. This is clearly one of those times.

Chaplain Auman sent a message to colleagues earlier this week that I thought was both beautiful and comforting. He has given me permission to share part of his message with the Daily Deacdom. Here it is:

Below please find a few spiritual tools to sustain you and to keep us connected during this time of uncertainty.

Caring for Self and Others in Times of Trouble

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more. Take time in your day, at any moment, to take ten deep even breaths. Carve out 5-10 minutes to meditate or practice mindfulness or contemplative prayer. Start here, now, wherever you are.

Ground yourself in the present moment. Focus your awareness on something real, enduring, or beautiful in your surroundings. Look up often. Discover the wonder and awe that is already here.

Acknowledge your fears, anxieties, concerns. Offer them up in prayer, if you pray. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Feel what you feel, honor it, and know that it is not the final word.

Remember you are not alone. Ever! You are surrounded by care and support.  Reach out.

Create and sustain community. Show up for one another. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Even while avoiding “close physical contact,” message the people you care about. Stand with those most vulnerable  and those who suffer the brunt of prejudice and fear. Check in on folks. Call your mother, father, guardian, mentor, little sibling, long lost friend, colleagues.

Unplug, judiciously. While staying aware of developments, do not let the  Corona-chaos govern you, but forgive yourself when and if it does.

Practice kindness. There is a temptation in health scares to view others as potential threats. Remember we are in this together. While practicing health guidelines and appropriate caution, remember to engage one another. Smile when you can. Bring good deeds and good energy into our world.

Stay healthy through sleep, diet, exercise. See healing and wellness holistically – mind, body, and spirit.

Make art. Discover, imagine, engage your hopes and fears, the beauty and  ugliness of our world. Write, paint, sing, dance, soar.

Practice gratitude. In the face of crises, make note of the things for which you are grateful: your breath, the particular shade of the sky at dusk – or dawn. The color blue, the color green, the gifts and strengths you have, other people in your life, the ability to laugh. A pet.

Connect with your spiritual, religious, humanist, cultural, or other communities. Find strength and solace and power in traditions, texts, rituals,  practices, holy times and seasons.

Pray as you are able, silently, through song, in readings, through ancestors. Remember the long view of history, the rhythms and cycles of nature, the invisible threads that connect us all.

Practice hope. Trust in the future and our power to endure and persist, to live fully into the goodness that awaits.

– From Alex Levering Kern here, Northeastern University, Boston 

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Be well. Be safe. And know we are still here for you and your students and that we care.

 

by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94), with a mighty assist from Chaplain Tim Auman

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