Sunday, September 26, 2010

Creating Peace

By Rev. Kit Ketcham, Sept. 26, 2010

My heart fell into my shoes as I listened to that voice mail nine years ago; it was the president of the board of my former congregation in Portland informing me that he had received a letter from a small group of anonymous dissident congregants, accusing me of not being a good minister and citing complaints about sermons not being intellectual enough, my being too Christian in my beliefs, missing chances for pastoral care, and forcing my opinions about social action priorities onto the congregation.

The letter had come out of the blue, for me; we had had our ups and downs but we had doubled our size in the three years I’d been there, we’d nearly completed the work to become a Welcoming Congregation, we’d instituted an all-congregation social action project serving transitional families, we had a thriving religious education program, and I’d thought the only fly in the ointment was our need to meet at 4 p.m., rather than have a morning service. Instead I learned this little group wanted to fire me.

Boy, I wish I’d known then what I know now about congregational life and how easy it can be for small conflicts to grow into conflagrations that split congregations and cause ministers to pack their bags.

Because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to talk to, or how to talk to them appropriately; I didn’t even know who the dissidents were. I just stewed over it, my hurt feelings growing by the day. I’d been an enthusiastic gardener, enjoying my tomato plants and native flowers, and now I found that, instead of getting my frustrations out with the dirt and weeds, I was brooding over my mistakes while gardening, feeling betrayed by congregants whom I had thought supported me and my leadership.

And the congregation didn’t know what to do either. They’d formed out of dissatisfaction with a larger church in Portland, feeling that they’d be better served by a new start in their own neighborhood, and I’d come to be their first fulltime minister. Yet here they were, struggling to express their discontent and just making things worse in the process, as was I.

In fairness to them, I will say that their complaints about me were understandable; I was a rookie, fresh out of seminary and extremely wet behind the ears, despite thinking I knew everything! I do prefer personal reflections to highly intellectual lectures, I’ve never denied my Christian roots and my Baptist DNA, I hadn’t been able to keep up with pastoral care in every case, and I had pretty much pushed the creation of an all-congregation social action project.

As we struggled to resolve our conflicts, which seemed insurmountable at the time and did result in my deciding to leave that congregation the next year, we all discovered some important things about how to treat each other in conflict, how to forgive and be forgiven, how to move on after a big jolt in our congregational life. There’s more to this story and I’ll tell that part later.

But for now, let’s look at the clumsy process that resulted in a great deal of hurt, people leaving the congregation in anger and frustration, and important changes being delayed until new ways of being together could be established.

The folks who were unhappy with my leadership had some legitimate concerns but didn’t have the tools or the courage to bring them to me directly. And on the few occasions that one or two mentioned something, I tended to get defensive and explain at great length just why I was doing something they didn’t like.

So they’d gripe to each other in the parking lot after church and I’d gripe to my friends outside the congregation or to sympathetic family members. And our unshared grievances grew until they couldn’t be contained and spilled over into congregational life, becoming a conflict that needed outside intervention.

What might have spared this young and inexperienced congregation and minister the pain of such a difficult situation? What might have re-routed the conversation so that it could be used productively rather than destructively? What could we have done differently in the beginning?

Today we are spending time considering a document called a Covenant of Right Relations, which a board-appointed task force has been working on for several months, looking at what the Unitarian Universalist Association suggests for congregations, looking at the work others have done, considering our history as a congregation and what has worked for us here, as well as what we wished we’d done better.

Our first consideration, though, was to understand the term “Covenant” in a religious setting like ours. The word Covenant has several wellknown uses and definitions. In some settings, it’s an agreement that homeowners will not do certain kinds of things on their property, in order to stay in good standing as members of a housing development and it can be somewhat punitive.

In other settings, it can mean contracts, bargains, certain legal documents--- or agreements about religious doctrine. In Christianity and Judaism, for example, God is in covenant with God’s people to provide for them if they keep God’s commandments. In specific Christian denominations, members of that faith covenant to uphold the doctrine of that denomination.

However, our faith tradition does not define “Covenant” in those ways. Our faith tradition is not about believing certain things but rather about our behavior toward each other, toward the larger community, and toward the earth on which we live.

“Covenant” means to us to come together in a solemn agreement, making a promise from the heart about how we will be together in this religious community. It is based on our Unitarian Universalist principles and on the Affirmation that we repeat every Sunday.

The task force which created the Covenant words for your consideration today used our Affirmation as its starting point, fleshing it out in two ways: first, to amplify the meaning of the statement we speak every week: “Love is the spirit of this congregation and service is its practice. This is our great covenant, to dwell together in peace, to speak truth in love, and to help one another” .

Such simple words. So much meaning. And so the second task was to create a set of promises that we might make to one another in this community, in accordance with our Principles and our Affirmation.

Because, how do we exemplify the Love that is the spirit of this congregation? How do we practice service? What does it mean that we wish to dwell together in peace? To speak truth in love? To help one another? This is what we mean by the term “Right Relations”.

How do we keep these simple words active in our lives, both here in this sacred space and outside in the larger community? It is so easy for simple words to become merely mindless ritual, and, in fact, that’s one reason why some of us are here---when thoughtless repetition of doctrine became uncomfortable and we were looking for a religious faith that came from the heart and the mind.

We want to live our Principles and our Affirmation in all areas of our congregational life and in the larger community. This way of living our beliefs is our quiet witness to the world that Unitarian Universalism is a faith tradition that walks its talk, not only in our social justice actions but also in our relationships with each other.

As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in the transforming power of love and because of this, we seek to create relationships of compassion, respect and forgiveness, to love our neighbor and to recognize that every person is our neighbor.

As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in cooperative power, not in coercive power, power with, rather than power over.

As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in humility and open-mindedness, knowing we ourselves can make mistakes and that others’ opinions are valid; we are willing to change our minds when we see that we are wrong.

As you have read through the first draft of the Covenant of Right Relations, I hope you have noticed one thing in particular: that these promises are positive in nature, affirming our desire to be our best selves with each other. They are not punitive, but encouraging; they recognize that we may goof up and when we do, we forgive ourselves and others and begin again in love.

These promises are active, not passive. When we say we warmly welcome all, that means that when a visitor walks through the door, we greet them in a friendly way and do what we can to make them comfortable in our midst.

When we promise to speak with honesty, respect, and kindness, that means we curb our tempers and strive to speak our minds with courtesy, not rancor.

When we promise to listen compassionately, that means we don’t interrupt, we pay attention to what the other is saying, so that we have a better understanding of their point of view.

When we promise to express our gratitude for others’ work, that means we say thank you often and express our appreciation, avoiding petty criticism.

When we promise to honor and support one another in life, that means we reach out to those who are hurting, we volunteer our services to make another’s life easier during a tough siege, we are thrilled for each others’ joys and mourn each others’ sorrows.

When we promise to embrace our diversity and the opportunity for different perspectives, we strive to learn more about those who are different from us so that we can learn from their perspectives.

When we address our disagreements directly and openly and move toward resolution, that means we talk directly to the person we are in conflict with, not behind his or her back, and we work toward real resolution and understanding.

When we promise to serve our spiritual community, that means we regularly sign up to be an usher or to serve refreshments or to help with the religious education program or pull weeds in the yard, and we are faithful with our financial support.

And when we goof up, as we all will, on occasion, we apologize, we forgive ourselves, we forgive those who have let us down, and we move forward with renewed commitment to keep our promises.

All healthy relationships and groups have conflict; it’s how we handle the inevitable differences of opinion that will make or break those relationships and so it is, too, with a congregation.

So how did the situation at my former congregation work out? Well, it was bad enough at the beginning that we called upon the services of our local UU district, asking them to help us sort out what had gone wrong and how we might approach it.

And in a set of interviews with congregation members and friends, a team listened carefully to all points of view, interviewed me deeply, and came up with a pretty concise and pointed analysis of what our difficulties were and how we had made missteps in addressing our differences.

To the congregation they pointed out that talking behind the back of those they disagreed with was not a fair way of enacting change, that direct and respectful conversation with the other person was the best way of addressing problems. They mentioned instances in which a dissident member had been publicly disrespectful to me and to other leaders. They mentioned secret meetings and email conversations in which people planned how they could fire me.

To me, they were also pretty clear. I had made some unwise moves myself and needed to change my own behavior. They informed me that my energy and enthusiasm can feel disempowering and controlling to those I work with. They reminded me of the times someone had tried to talk with me about a difference of opinion and how I’d responded defensively, not compassionately. And they reminded me that I need to remember that my casual words and occasional flip remarks can easily be misinterpreted.

They made these pronouncements at a congregational meeting in early November of that year and in a private conference with me. There was an initial flurry of disagreement from all sides but once we settled down, most of us could see how the conflict had grown to the proportions it had. The team then suggested that after some period of reflection the congregation might begin work on a Covenant of Right Relations to help them work through any future conflicts more productively.

I went about my work from that point on acutely aware of my own errors, feeling embarrassed by my mistakes, and yet hopeful that I might be able to bring more resolution to my hurting congregation and myself in the next few months before my resignation took effect. But I wasn’t sure how to do it. I was still in a lot of pain.

The week before Thanksgiving, I was preparing my annual sermon of gratitude for blessings and feeling pretty sad about the situation we’d just come through. I still felt hurt, our dissidents had not been happy about the recommendations the visiting team had made, and I was having a hard time being joyful as the holiday season began.

I came home from a meeting one afternoon to find a voicemail on my answering machine. I recognized the number on the caller ID; it was the phone number of the one person I’d felt most betrayed by, a woman I thought was a strong supporter. I was almost afraid to listen to her message, feeling beaten down by all the criticism I’d endured for the past months and fearing she was going to give me some more.

But I was in for a surprise. Her familiar voice just said, “Kit, this is Betty. I feel terrible about how I’ve treated you during these past few months. Can we talk?” And talk we did, for a long time, and we came to a new understanding of how our relationship had been damaged by our poor communication.

Over coffee, we sorted out the ways we had hurt each other, we apologized to each other, and we made a commitment to share our reconciliation and our new relationship with the congregation.

And on Thanksgiving Sunday, after re-thinking my Thanksgiving sermon, I apologized to the congregation for my mistakes and told them what I hoped we could accomplish together during the last few months of my time with them. We lit candles of hope at the end of the service and acknowledged the journey of reconciliation that lay ahead for us as a congregation.

During the next months, several others in the dissident group came to me to apologize and to receive my direct apology for ways I had hurt them.

I wouldn’t say that all was sunshine and roses from then on, but we had received a powerful lesson in what NOT to do and how to mend our broken ties. We had lost several strong members because they couldn’t stomach the conflict; our Sunday attendance dropped dramatically, I found it hard to look out at the gathering while preaching and note who wasn’t there.

But we made it through the year with some regained self-respect, knowing we had done the best we could with a tough situation.

And, once peace was restored, in the next few years, as I understand it, that congregation began work on a Covenant of Right Relations, so that they would always be reminded of their own role in maintaining the Spirit of Love in the congregation.

As we move ahead to develop a Covenant of Right Relations that works for us, expresses our hopes and commitments in the ways we feel most valuable, I am grateful that we already have a foundation of many peaceful years together and that creating this document is mostly a matter of confirming the respectful ways we already treat each other.

The plan is to discuss the proposed draft today, with facilitators at each table making notes about suggestions and concerns. The task force will take all those notes into consideration, will create a second draft for your approval, and we will repeat this process as often as necessary. It will culminate in a vote at a congregation meeting in the future, when the final draft is completed.

In our work this afternoon, I hope we’ll share the many ways we already show our care and concern for each other, consider other ways we might add, and get started on the work of Covenanting together.

Let’s pause for a time of silent reflection and prayer.

BENEDICTION: Our worship service, our time of shaping worth together, is ended, but our service to the world begins again as we leave this place. Let us go in peace, remembering that we have a precious connection to one another in this faith community. May we seek to strengthen and protect that connection by making our love for one another visible through our actions and may we extend our love beyond these walls into the larger community. Amen, Shalom, Salaam, and Blessed Be.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thinking about God...

is something I do a lot, particularly when I read or hear the words of others whose God-concept is pretty traditional, more of the personal, God-is-a-capitalized-He, creator of the universe who will suspend natural law for my benefit.

I used to be there. Now I'm not. But when it comes to putting my own words on my God-concept, I'm almost incoherent. I'm getting better, but I'm pretty feeble.

See, I don't believe that there is some anthropomorphic figure in the sky or in the air around us that cares about me personally, except in the fortunate accident of giving me life. I don't believe that any force in the universe is going to be interested in letting me or helping me circumvent natural law. I don't believe that I am on earth to do anything but act out the moral principles I was born with and learned from loving parents; if there is a "God's Will", that's it for me.

I do believe that there is power beyond human power, that it created the universe and continues to create the universe and its creatures through evolution. I believe it resides in me and in every being, that I can use that power as a means of learning life's lessons, as a means of improving my own health, sanity, outreach, and connection to all things. I believe that all of us can use that power.

I believe that the universe is both creation and source of creation, that it can be measured mathematically (Richard Feynman has said that "calculus is the language God speaks") and that science is right to continue to measure the universe, whether or not it will ever be possible to take every measurement, whether or not in the end we concede that it is a Mystery.

I believe that natural law is the manifestation and activator of this power beyond human power. In natural law, we see how things work, what we can count on, how our bodies and minds may work and how we can work with natural law to survive and flourish.

Natural law can be a threat if we don't pay attention to it, whether we neglect to consider the consequences of weather or geography or topography or the impulse to put our tribe's (or our own personal) survival ahead of our impulse to be compassionate. Natural law deals death for accidents or disregard for the universe's power. It also deals death for those who disregard compassion as necessary to human life; those who suffer the lack of compassion from others are the victims, but the non-compassionate ones have the misery and poverty of the victims on their spiritual "permanent record". They are not accountable to some God figure but to their own conscience, in the long run.

This is what I've got so far. It's probably going to be slow work, but it's eternally interesting, to sort out what I see as the power beyond human power, why prayer works for me even with this evolving definition of my God-concept, why I continue to pray for the health and wellbeing of my loved ones, sending my love and concern into the universe in behalf of humankind generally and my beloveds in particular, and why I have faith that when I pray "please help me deal well with this situation" I will deal well with this situation. It rarely fails me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Water Ceremony

Our Water Ceremony today was a wonderful experience. It's always a chaotic day, with joy and sorrow and confusion intertwined, and today was the best of everything. We broke our attendance record for a worship service, with 108 souls, and celebrated afterwards with our traditional salmon bake. Here is the text of the introduction to the ceremony and the homily I didn't need. You'll see why if you read it.

Sept. 12, 2010

Good morning! I’m delighted to see you all here today. I’d like to explain how we are going to do our water ceremony this year, for the benefit of those to whom it is a new experience and to help others remember how this works. For those of you who are visiting, we are delighted to see you and welcome you into this experience. You are invited to take full part in this ceremony.

When you found your seat, you also found a 3x5 card on that seat. During the early part of the service, I ask you to think about what the water means which you will pour into our receptacle. Does it represent an important insight or experience? Does it commemorate a beloved person who may have died? Does it express a joy that has come to you?

Whatever that meaning might be, I ask you to write it down on the card and later, during the procession of the waters, to bring your water and your card to the altar table where the pooled waters will be gathered. Please pour a small amount of your water into the amber vase and place the card with your words on it in one of the baskets by the vase; then return to your seat. We’ll process in rows, as tidily as possible, but as it may get kind of busy up here, I just ask that you watch out for little feet and hands and take turns as best you can! And if you forgot to bring water, there is a carafe of water here on the altar that you can use to represent your watery experience.

Just before the homily, two readers will read the cards aloud without names attached, so that we all can hear the insights and experiences that your water represents. In this way, we symbolically pool the life experiences of all of us gathered here today and enrich our community with those experiences.

In this container, I have the pooled waters from last year’s water ceremony and I am going to add some of them to the amber vase to begin our ceremony. After this service, the waters will be purified and will be used in our annual child dedication ceremony as well as on other occasions such as house blessings or memorial services.

Rev. Kit Ketcham, Sept. 12, 2010

I invite you to sit in silence for a few moments while Sara and Frank read the cards which describe the experiences that are represented by these waters we’ve joined together. Let’s reflect during that silence upon the commonalities of our human lives and also the richness that all these experiences bring to our life together as a faith community.

[Note: About 80 cards were read aloud and at the end of this recitation of the many important experiences that the water represented, there was nothing more for me to say. I wish I could publish the messages on the cards, for they were so poignant and meaningful. So I delivered only the last two paragraphs of this homily, but you're getting the whole thing!)

This past summer has been many things to us: times of joy and recreation in beautiful places, times of sorrow and worry over beloved friends and family members who are struggling, personal determination to change our lives in some way, realization of our mortality and that of our loved ones, and especially, love flowing between us and our fellow humans, love of all kinds----giddy romantic love, the deep love of committed partners, love for children and animals, love of this beautiful place, love for sacred ideals and causes, love for faithful friends and companions on the road, and the love that blooms when people are united in a mission to serve others.

These are the waters of our lives; they are bubbling with joy and play and ecstasy and fulfillment. They run serene with contentment and the sense of life well lived. And yet an inevitable undercurrent of sorrow and loss may flow beneath even the calmest or most exuberant of waters.

Water is everywhere in our lives. New human life is born in a gush of waters; new rivers spring from tiny clefts in the rock; glaciers release water stored for centuries to trickle down couloirs and into creeks, then rivers, then the sea. Underground aquifers receive thirstily the water which percolates down from rainstorms and snow melt to bring new water to wells and springs.

Water seems always to be going somewhere, active, whether bouncing through rapids or ocean swells and tides or serenely flowing through meadowy meanders and welling up behind beaver dams. Its undercurrents require of us a certain caution, a recognition of danger, a possibility of pain and loss. And then water moves from lakes and streams and oceans and even puddles back up through the air to become clouds again and start its cycle all over.

One of the things I’ve experienced lately is the importance of water in the act of cleansing. Many of you know I recently had a cataract removed---just last Wed., as a matter of fact---and I had to wash and wash and wash in preparation for the surgery: wash my hands before putting drops in my eye; wash again and again and again at every step of the process. After the surgery, keeping my face clean was essential, lest infection take hold.

Every person who worked with me during the hours I was at Whidbey General washed their hands before any contact with me. And during the surgery itself, my eye was flooded with sterile water as the doctor carefully extracted the old lens and implanted the new one.

The reminder we give our children about washing their hands is one we have heard from our own parents and other adults. Washing, cleansing, purifying---these are all roles water has in our daily lives.

We bathe, both for cleanliness sake and to relax. We launder our clothing, our bedding, our table linens, all in the act of cleanliness but also in the act of refreshing limp and tired items. We scrub our floors and our kitchen and bathroom surfaces till they shine.

There’s a lot of hype about anti-bacterial substances that supposedly will eliminate evil germs and protect us from disease, but the truth is that just plain clean water with a little soap will do the same thing.

Water has been used for religious purposes for centuries and we use it that way too. We gather these waters every fall to commemorate the ways our lives have changed during the past year and to share those changes with our religious community. Water is the basic stuff of life, and, like community, we have to have it, we need it for our very survival.

We use these gathered waters then to dedicate ourselves to our newest children every year, welcoming them into the community with a touch of the water on their skin, to symbolically share our lives with theirs.

All over the United States and even abroad today Unitarian Universalists are bringing the waters of their lives to pool in a common vessel, signifying our unity as a congregation and beginning the new year together in this ceremony of communion.

In some congregations I’ve known, the water ceremony can become just a travelogue of people bragging about the cool places they’ve been. Our practice is to share the important experiences of the past months, the times that have been spiritually important to us, the times of learning something valuable, the times spent with dear ones, the times spent remembering and cherishing the love in our lives.

We bring all these experiences today, to pool in this container, and to begin our new year together with the recognition that we are somewhat different, as individuals and as a congregation, than we were a few months ago.

Some of us have had deep hurts, some of us have lost members of our family. Some of us have had incredible joy, joy that continues and enriches our lives. Some of us have had important insights about our own selves, about others, about the nature of life.

So we bring our water and ourselves to this place today, depending on each other for support and love as we begin this year together.

Let’s pause for a time of silent reflection and prayer.

Benediction: Our worship service, our time of shaping worth together, is ended, but our service to the world begins again as we leave this place. Let us go in peace, remembering that our lives affect one another, for our experiences shape us and thereby shape our relationships. May we remember this and share ourselves and our lives in ways that enhance our time together, for this is how we heal ourselves and each other and knit up the rips and tears in the interdependent web of existence, of which we are a part. Amen, Shalom, Salaam, and Blessed Be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cataract "canyon"

I had known for over a year that I was eventually going to need to have a cataract removed in my left eye. The retinal detachment that occurred in April of 2009 made it likely that a cataract would form within a few months and that it would impair my vision more and more until I couldn't stand it any longer and had it removed and replaced with a plastic lens.

For the last several months, the feeling of cloudedness, of a kind of weightiness in my left eye had been growing, impairing my night vision particularly with its refracting of headlights into starbursts and halos. My right eye was doing so much more of the work that it was often tired and grouchy. I was ready for whatever the surgery might bring.

But I was also wary. A few folks in my congregation had had complications----infection, double vision, even a lens "misplant"---though most reported wonderful results. Which side of the line would I end up on? I couldn't tell for sure, though I knew that the retinal detachment made my surgery somewhat more delicate.

Now, two days later, I am amazed at the clarity of the vision in my left eye. It's so dramatically better---not only in focus but in colors revealed now that the cloudy lens is clear again---that my right eye is a bit confused and trying to get used to the fact that it's no longer doing more work than the left eye. Also, the left eye does not have a multifocal replacement lens, only a regular one; the right eye uses a multifocal contact lens or a bifocal spectacle lens.

Until I get the right lens removed, which should happen within a month or so because there's a bit of a cataract on that one too, I will be using a combination of vision aids, because only my left eye will need a reading lens for now; after the second surgery, the right eye will need it too, but until then, I've got a multifocal contact lens.

I've taken my regular specs over to the optometrist to get a plain glass lens inserted on the left side; that will make it easier to cope during the month-long period before the second surgery when I can't wear my contact lens in my right eye. (The reason for this is that the cornea's shape is affected by a gas-perm lens and needs time to revert to its natural shape---about two weeks before the measurements of the eye and then two more weeks until the surgery.)

Of course, this is all happening during the busiest part of my year but somehow all the events---the meetings, the sermons, the Bayview Sound performances---are dovetailing pretty well and I haven't had to miss anything just yet. We'll see how the rest of it progresses!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Admitting to God, to ourselves...

and to another person the exact nature of our wrongs is something a lot of folks think is unwise, probably unnecessary, and too guilt-ridden to be an effective way of dealing with errors we've made. The thing is, it works.

Years ago, I regularly attended an AlAnon meeting every week, sometimes twice a week, trying to deal with the effects of my years in relationships that were affected by drinking, drugging, food, spending, and other addictive behaviors. And I decided that I wasn't going to do it halfway, that I was going to actually get a sponsor and do the work of "doing the steps", the 12 steps that have been the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous and other such groups.

I spent about four or five years attending regular meetings and the steps became part of my life, to the benefit of my relationships. The steps were hard. They meant I had to overcome my resistance to letting people know about my secrets, telling people I was sorry and asking forgiveness, and making pridefulness take a back seat to humility. One of the hardest ones was number 5: "admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs".

But once I had done this with the entity I called God, with myself, and with my sponsor, owning up to the list of people I had harmed with my behavior and committing myself to making amends to all those I could, I found my sense of guilt greatly diminished and a sense of freedom from self-absorption and self-flagellation. I still carried the sense of responsibility for my actions; I hadn't given that up, but it now served as a reminder not to commit the same act again.

I've used this step over and over again since those AlAnon days, even though I no longer attend meetings. And it has the same cleansing effect now as it did then. I have learned a lot about my actions and their effects over the years and I rarely commit the same offense twice.

However, I find new ones to commit, as I did recently, hurting people unnecessarily and for no good reason. And as I mopped up as best I could, feeling remorseful for my stupid mistake and praying for guidance to make amends, I had a chance to sit down with my close friend S and tell her what I had done to hurt people, what I had done to make amends, and what I hoped I still could do. She was understanding and supportive, did not diminish the seriousness of the deed, but offered encouragement and questions to help me sort out why I might have taken the action I did, to get a handle on any pattern it might reveal.

And though my sorrow about the event has not gone away, my understanding has increased. I am hopeful that I might learn what I need to learn so that in the future, I will not carelessly hurt another person this way. I hope that I might find greater compassion for those who happen to push my buttons in certain ways and that I might learn more caring ways to respond.

Please, God.