Living Like Somebody I Used to Know

Hello All Souls,

It’s been a mild winter weatherwise, but I’ll admit my life has changed drastically in the last month, most of it difficult but for the better. I’ve started purging all the unnecessary things out of my life and my home (you don’t want to know how many pairs of ill-fitting jeans went to those in need…) and wondering if I’m hitting that midlife need for a gigantic change. Usually when I feel this way, I just get a drastic haircut. As my hair is pretty short already, so I’ll probably ignore that urge.

I notice I used the word drastic a couple times in that first paragraph…I actually cut a couple more out. But what I’m feeling isn’t a need for more drastic changes, but to start living like somebody I used to know.


Covid took all of us outside of our comfort zone (or put some of the more introverted among us into a more comfortable one). That was a drastic change. I realized that the last three years had irrevocably changed me in more ways than I cared to look too closely at. I stopped feeling safe and felt bombarded by all the negatives. It was such a rut. I missed being outside. I missed being around other people. I missed being helpful.

So, changes. Or better yet, revisiting what used to work for me. I’ll come back to this point.

I noticed something similar around the church. We’re all looking for those ways to start living like the people we used to be. More and more of the congregation has come back in person, the Find Your Ministry Fairs doubled attendance this winter, our monthly luncheons are back, more meetings are held in the building, our children’s programming and choirs are blossoming, Meet & Greets for various ministries and groups have brought people together in community, and Sundays feel full and inviting. It’s really beautiful to see.

We’re starting to live like the people we used to know. But we’re also living into the changes that have come with that. We can’t ever really go back, but we can be reminded. We can incorporate. We can be beautiful, flawed vessels for growth. We can just be. We can just be, together.

So, in revisting what used to work for me – I LOVED getting involved and giving of my time, energy, and treasure. Lately I’ve been stingy of my time and energy. I now recognize that I’m not ready for long term commitments, but I can offer myself and others micro-doses. Right now, I have the capacity for short-term, low personal cost volunteerism.

Volunteering like I used to, but embracing that my capacity has changed. Living like somebody I used to know, but recognizing I’m not the same as I was.

Our membership secretary, Donna Olsen, has revitalized an initiative we used to lean into at All Souls, which I absolutely love: microvolunteering.

Microvolunteering takes a simple idea – that people are more likely to volunteer their time in short and convenient, bite-sized chunks – and turns it into a new approach to community action. We used to call that EASIS: Engaging All Souls in Service.

In our new member classes, Donna offers our newest church members opportunities to serve the church that are short, but important. Helping with a luncheon or helping with a coffee hour. One-off opportunities that are 2-3 hours at most, to provide support to our lay leaders and staff or community partners while offering these members an opportunity to get their feet wet and build community.

The Reeb Project offered micro-volunteering during voting seasons by letting people write postcards, making phone calls, or send texts when it was convenient for them.

Our Gardening Team offers one Saturday a month for anyone and everyone to come garden at the church from April-November each year. If you’re interested, just show up.

The Luncheon Ministry does the same. Come cook with them one Sunday morning each month, as often as you want.

Our K-2 students microvolunteered last Sunday by collecting and packing petfood for our neighbors at the Woodner Tenant Union.

We still have longer term opportunities with greater time commitments that are equally important for those of you who are ready to jump into them. The Leadership & Development Nominating Committee are looking for people to sit on the committee and to become Board members and officers.

CYRE always needs teachers and mentors for our students (this opportunity requires a firm commitment and a background check).

The Jubilee Singers are looking for new voices to sing with. Normally, they meet once a week and sing once or twice a month on Sundays. (Their schedule is currently based around visiting directors – see the newsletter for details on when to come by for the next few months.)

This isn’t even close to everything that’s happening at All Souls! Keep an eye on our Find Your Ministry and Volunteerism page in the coming weeks. We also have opportunities that are virtual.

If you’re a lay leader with an opportunity to share, fill out this form and I’ll get it on the website.

Spring is coming with a wealth of opportunities for you to end your hibernation, or to make changes if you’re ready and needing them. Take a step out of your comfort zone. Check out a microvolunteer opportunity or two, or three. Our doors are open and letting in the light, the love, and the winds of possibility.


Rose Eaton

Communications Manager & Volunteerism Professional

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Pam Amos

    Rose! I absolutely love this letter and idea. I’m inspired. Thank you.

  2. Judy Hogan

    Blessed be, Dear Rose. All changes either end or keep changing
    (the wisdom of the ancients). You have brought so much helpfulness, energy and professionalism to All Souls, whatever your direction, Blessed be. Wishing you peace and health, Judy Hogan

  3. Erika Landberg

    Loved this piece rose. So many Thanks. Erika

  4. Meg Staines

    I love you Rose! You are such a blessing to all of us!


    Rose, what an honest and thought-provoking piece! My response to the Pandemic has been similar to yours. I can manage micro-pieces of involvement not because I suffer from a too-short attention span, but because I have less energy now. I need to take it slow about re-engaging with commitments that used to fill my days and evenings. You’re a blessing-thanks!

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