President’s Message – January 2012

This year, the holiday season had a different feel for me. A lot of people I talk to are experiencing high levels of stress, as am I. Work-related pressures, mostly, but I think it’s symptomatic of other things. Many of us are in such a different place than we were three years ago, and not by choice.

Change was forced on many of us, and the world in general and not necessarily for the better. Institutions we never thought could fail have failed, or rather the people running them have failed and caused economic catastrophe in the process. Weather patterns resulted in more severe conditions and natural global disasters such as we have never seen. Governments have toppled, we are at war, and identifying our nation’s friends and enemies is more complicated that it has ever been. As a result, the world – and us – is much different.

Yet, I am more at peace than I have been for some time. As a result of some if not all of the above, my own personal circumstances have changed. Upon reflection, those changes have been for the better.

Three years ago I was making a lot more money – but I was bored with my job and trapped by a heavy debt load. I lost my job then and was lucky enough to find another one quickly, but at a lot less money.

The trade-off is I have a job that I find rewarding. I strug- gled but I am now debt-free and have learned to live within my means, and as a result I have more choices. Ironically, I am now better able to support the congregation in the way that I want. So, in spite of my somewhat diminished circumstances, and maybe because of them, I am better able to be true to my values.

As the world attempts to redefine itself, I am engaged in the same process on some level. I suspect I am not alone.

I wish all of you peace and joy on your personal journey to whatever adventures await you.

Teresa DeSousa
President, Board of Trustees