Carolyn Freyer-Jones during #thefridayminute (photo by Wally Skalij courtesy of the Los Angeles Times).
My beloved father Hugh Freyer was diagnosed with Covid on July 8th, in a hospital in New York. He passed on July 14th, his 86th birthday. His passing into Spirit was a glorious day in the context of him completing his human life, which he lived with dignity, a high commitment to service, and to caring for his family. He completed his life with a high level of excellence – all end of life details were handled down to a note with the passwords for his computer, phone, Ipad and bank accounts. His last words on the note after the passwords were, “I will miss you all.”
#thefridayminute was birthed out of a phone conversation my brother and I had about two weeks after our dad passed. We were talking about the massive losses being experienced at this time and we were wondering when there would be a national day of mourning. My brother was weeping at the magnitude of loss and the challenges being felt everywhere by those impacted by Covid.
I said to him, “We don’t have to wait. We can do something now.” We talked about some kind of way to acknowledge what was happening consistently, every week.
Sidebar – I’m a minister, first and foremost. What I was not (up until that moment) was someone who knew how to start a movement of this kind. What I did know from our beloved John-Roger was that the willingness to do gives the ability to do. . .so despite being in uncomfortable, unchartered territory, I trusted I’d figure it out one step at a time and that Spirit would guide me.
The following week I was going to be on a call with a CNN reporter – they were doing a highlight on a few people who’d passed from Covid and I had offered my dad’s story. Before the call I knew I needed to talk about #thefridayminute –I needed to make it real for people. A few minutes prior to the call I was talking with a friend, and I said, “What am I going to call this? I mean we can’t call it #thecovidminute – no one will want to come to THAT.” We landed on #thefridayminute. Simple.
I got on the call and I shared about my dad, and then I took a breath and said, “There’s another thing – my brother and I launched #thefridayminute – it’s one minute of silence every Friday for those impacted by Covid.”
In our language, as ministers and initiates #thefridayminute is a light action. It’s Spirit’s #thefridayminute (does Spirit use hashtags? I don’t know – maybe?). Every Friday people come together, either with me or on their own. We slow down. I start every week by thanking whoever is there, I share for a few minutes about who I’m dedicating my minute to and I invite everyone to share who they are dedicating their minute to. Most people dedicate their minute to someone who is dealing with the virus right now, or a grieving family, or someone who’s passed. Others dedicate their minute to entire communities, cities, states, countries, or health care workers, teachers or essential workers.
#thefridayminute is open to all. People join from around the country and world — sometimes 15 people show up, sometimes more. I don’t talk about Spirit in any direct way . . .and for me Spirit is present. My intention is that whoever comes is uplifted and supported in whatever ways serves them. We come together in our humanity and our divinity, remembering we are not alone. Anyone’s grief is my grief, anyone’s financial loss is my loss, anyone’s challenge is my challenge.
We can help take care of each other and we can remember that we are here for each other. I always share that one minute of loving silence in service to others can have a profound impact . . .how much we’ll never know.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share that I was in pain when my dad passed. Even with the gift and blessing of a spiritual awareness, it didn’t stop the pain of grief or the pain of a Covid experience in a hospital. Even with the knowing that my father left in a way that was very much filled with Grace, it was difficult.
And yet . . .this beautiful thing was birthed from the pain of grief. This beautiful thing came from Spirit in a way that could be used to serve. It’s deepened me and my ministry and that’s been a huge gift.
I’m grateful to have the context I have. I’m grateful to have been given the gift of this life and the presence and blessing of John-Roger and the Traveler in my heart. I’m grateful for my USM education that assists me every day, in all areas of my life (a USM education in a pandemic is the gift that keeps on giving from my pov). I’m grateful to be a minister – I didn’t “plan” to do #thefridayminute and it’s a gift to share it. I’m grateful to be able to use the passing of my father in service to others at a time on the planet when there are significant opportunities to make a positive difference. I’m grateful to know that we are much more than our bodies and that the Loving is what matters – no matter what.
The Hill on #thefridayminute
CNN story on #thefridayminute
LA Times #thefridayminute