Derry family, we have reached the peak of summer, and this summer is already looking drastically different from last year. You could probably notice the changes in demeanor of choir members being able to exercise our lungs properly after so many months of silence! Fortunately, rusty windpipes will no longer be a concern, especially with the installation of our new organ in progress.
When my musical side can be subdued, my work as a psychotherapist continues throughout the summer, usually with higher demand as people have a bit more free time for appointments. In my career I have learned there are peaks not only of seasons, but also of our human functioning throughout the year. This time of the summer typically brings increases in drug overdoses and relapses, more reports of anxiety and depressive symptoms among my adult clients, and general perceptions of feeling inadequate as we try to stuff our days with activities. Strange, isn’t it? We typically expect to feel more “low” in the deep winter, but somehow even the freedom of a good climate can serve as a trigger for brain chemical challenges.
While COVID certainly did not help with these trends of mental health difficulties, I was able to observe some truly fascinating developments in my clients with their spirituality and acceptance of their current conditions. More often than ever before, I found myself in discussions of individuals’ faith in their higher power, specifically the ideas that “things had to get better” or “God’s will be done.” As excited as this made me to learn my clients were open to exploring their spiritual beliefs, I also have to support those who are more skeptical of such matters. However, even my most doubtful thinkers began to speak of hope that worldly situations would improve and some sort of normalcy would return.
Hebrews 11:1 reminds us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Watching skeptical minds embracing the thought of a better tomorrow is the best demonstration of what the Bible teaches about faith. What our eyeballs have seen is hardship, confusion, and hurt, but what God continues to instill in our hearts is trust and comfort.
Many of you may not know that I relocated to central Pennsylvania entirely alone for graduate school, yet the trust God placed in me led me right to Derry and into your hands of comfort. I had never sung a solo in my LIFE for other people, but the spirit of the congregation quieted my anxieties enough to share my passion with you. God is always present, through the depths of depression and grief and the agitation of panic and anger, so long as our hearts remain open to the prospect of relief. I cannot thank you enough, church family, for bringing me to my own relief, and I wish you all a remaining summer of good health (both mental and physical).
Editor’s Note: Rebecca joined Derry Church in February 2020 and throughout the pandemic, sang hymns and anthems that were pre-recorded for our Sunday morning live streamed services. Recently Rebecca made another move to the eastern corner of Pennsylvania: she is now in King of Prussia preparing to start at a brand new office as a licensed professional counselor.