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Finding Connectedness

By Sister Theresa Hafner

Walking to get my 10,000 steps in is something that I do every day.  I enjoy being out in nature.  It instills a sense of calm from the difficulties or struggles of the day, and provides time to reflect.  Experiencing the wonders of creation imparts a sense of connectedness with everyone and everything I encounter.

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Taking a walk the past few weeks, during the corona virus stay at home order, has heightened this sense of oneness.  There is a sensitivity, that each person I pass or see in the distance is carrying their own fears, anxieties, and hopes; for themselves and those they care about and love.  How can I be strong for my family?  Will I get my job back when all this passes?  How can I take care of my father when I can’t even visit him?  Will my sister be safe working at the hospital?  How can I ration my food so I don’t have to risk going out to the store again?  The uncertainty of our lives is palpable.  And yet, almost everyone I pass smiles, waves, and says hello.  The realization that we are all in this together helps to put things in perspective, and allows us not to become overwhelmed by how much our daily lives have changed.

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I have felt at times, when I am sitting impatiently alone in my apartment, the strong need to do something, to get out and physically help others during this health and economic crisis.  I would like to encourage everyone to not overlook the little things.  A simple greeting to unknown neighbors we pass on a walk; a phone call to family or friends; a smile and wave through the window; including those we have encountered throughout the day in our prayers; are all things that have the potential to significantly brighten, and help to relieve the stress, of someone’s day.  While I talk, text, and zoom with people to stay connected, it dawned on me that these unknown neighbors I pass on my walk are the only people I see in person, and that connection means the world to me right now.  As in any service we offer, we also are the recipients of the caring and love that is expressed.

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Shout out to my sister Jo, and brothers John and Ed who are essential workers, and to all people who are doing the work needed in our communities during this difficult time.

Sending love, prayers, and God’s peace to everyone.

About the Author

Theresa croppedSister Theresa Hafner, CSJ, entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph in March of 2001.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from John Carroll University and currently ministers in the Cleveland diocese at a local parish in the Faith Formation office.  Theresa enjoys nature photography, is an avid baseball fan, and  treasures the company of  family, community, and friends.  ​

28 thoughts on “Finding Connectedness

  1. Mary Jo Curtsinger says:

    Theresa, you said this so well! Thanks for your insights and helping me to open to “out-sights” on my own walks.

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  2. Mel Kupchik says:

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection, Theresa! You have inspired me to walk outside more as well and to treasure and be grateful for every connection to God, neighbor, and all of creation. 🙏🤗

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  3. Joanne Vallero says:

    Yes! Today’s sunshine called me out of our “house arrest” for a mid afternoon walk. I actually read your insightful piece on my return. Your words ring so true! Thank you, Theresa.

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  4. Rose Mathes says:

    Theresa, I loved your reflection! I copied it and enlarged the print so the sisters at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling can read it. we miss you taking walks on the grounds here! Rose Mathes

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  5. Brigetta Slinger says:

    Thank you for your timely and lovely reflection, Theresa. You have reminded us that it’s the simple kindnesses that mean so much to all of us during these difficult times as wall as always.

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  6. Donna Fry says:

    Thank you, Theresa, for sharing the gift of you! Just went out for a nice long walk in the woods and carried your reflection along. It was a blessing. Missing you!

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  7. judy Cauley says:

    Such a touching reminder of the preciousness of the present moment in gratitude for nature, friends, family and life itself. Thank you! Judy Cauley

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  8. Felicia Petruziello says:

    Theresa, You Certainly are a “connecter!” You really helped us get connected to the Sisters at the Center, on the Feast of St Joseph & are hoping to get connected with them at Easter! You are a loving woman!!! Felicia

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  9. Ginny says:

    Dear Theresa,
    How beautifully you write your thoughts! We have been under the strain of COVID-19 for many months now. I think it has just intensified some of the loneliness that we have had before then. Going on walks in nature certainly helps fill the void especially knowing that we are not alone. Jesus walks with us at all times! I think of you often. You hold a special place in my heart.
    Remember God loves you!
    Ginny Kreutzer
    ✝️✝️✝️

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