These are the times that try men’s souls. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776 

Those words from Thomas Paine open the pamphlet series titled “The American Crisis” written and published during the American Revolution. I suspect many souls were tried during that time, but that is a different topic altogether. 

These times are trying our souls. Some are characterizing this as a war against a virus. I’m not a fan of war imagery and have learned that nature usually wins anyway. This isn’t just in America, it’s around the globe. This is a time when things are certainly upside down, uncertain and chaotic. This is also a time when we work together for the common good so that as many of us as possible can be well, or we don’t. It is a challenge that we can meet if we remain grounded in shared values and principles. Those are some of the same values and principles that Thomas Paine advocated: courage, universal human rights, and help for the poor.  

Last Sunday, I invited you to consider this as a time of sabbath or sabbatical, either for weeks, days, or moments, depending on how your life has been affected. These are the questions that I offered for reflection: 

What would make these days sacred and holy for you?  

How will you find moments of sabbath?  

What will help you stay right-side-up when the world is upside down?

Your soul may be tried right now, and it will be a while before we get through this. I invite you to consider how you can keep your body, mind and spirit health and whole in these times.  

Take care. Stay grounded. Stay connected.  

Blessings on your week, 

Rev. Mary  


Get Help 

Many of you have shared community resources with me and with each other. If you are in need, please reach out. OUUC has a Caring Friends network for assistance with basic needs. OUUC has a Minister’s Benevolence fund for financial help (email me at and there are also other resources in Olympia. There are also many ways to stay connected to the OUUC community via Zoom. Check out the website here.  Please don’t suffer in silence; reach out.  

Give Help 

If you are able, please consider donating to the Minister’s Benevolence fund so that we can help others when needed. Also, consider donating to the Thurston County COVID-19 Response Fund offered by the United Way. And, if you are able, sign up to be a Caring Friend at OUUC; you can find more information here.