CCL Weekly Update – 8/22/2020

Habits of the heart to help us set our course together

It just struck me how democracy is so full of contradictions. We work to define our shared values and dreams as states and as a nation, through a process that underscores our differences … too often in stark and uncharitable ways. Bright hopes and dark fears are drawn out in ourselves and projected onto others. Despite our differences, we are all seeking a path to happiness and light, to mutual understanding, to a feeling of welcome and comfort in our own homes and communities. The election cycle is long and intense.

We began 2020 with a politically-driven divisiveness that was bursting some of our long-solid seams. And then came the pandemic, an enduring threat that has disrupted our daily lives in ways that are difficult to sustain. Then, the murder of George Floyd highlighted the horrors of racism and ignited protests for change that have spoken to each of us in different and uncomfortable ways. All of this forces us to consider what matters most to us, and it also asks us to look hard at how our lives impact others. That’s a lot of pressure!

And now, a new school year is about to begin. Most years, this is a hopeful time of clear and new beginnings. I look back to the simple things that made those first days of September so special. The little bits of uncertainty were (mostly) exciting: There’s a new kid in our class! The new teacher lives down the street from my cousin and she’s really cool. We’re getting new science books this year! When’s the first dance?

This year, there is uncertainty about health and safety … and transportation, childcare, and even livelihood, with Covid-19. The Lyme School’s experienced, creative educators are working diligently with ever-moving targets to craft plans for our children’s physical safety, emotional health, and learning. The school board is providing direction, doing their best to interpret evolving state guidance and emerging science about how best to mitigate the risks. There are no experts or definitive studies to predict if and how the virus will spread in Lyme. Anxious parents, staff, and community members are offering input. There are discussions and decisions based on a wide range of opinions, some coming down to votes. Though it’s messy, we are working hard together to ensure the best school year possible. The way we “do” democracy matters.

This perfect storm of a moment reminds me of a book that’s had a great impact on my work in Lyme and in communities across the country: Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, by Parker Palmer (Jossey-Bass, October 2011). Palmer explores how to deal with our political (and societal) tensions for the sake of the common good. It’s about starting from a kind and hopeful place of respect for one another, with the courage to share our own beliefs and our ideas. At the core of his message are five “Habits of the Heart”. Here’s a short introduction to these powerful ideas:  

  1. An understanding that we are all in this together. We must embrace the simple fact that we are dependent upon and accountable to one another, and that includes the stranger, the “alien other.” 
  2. An appreciation of the value of “otherness.” Thinking in terms of “us” and “them” is one of the many limitations of the human mind. But it does not have to mean “us versus them.” Can it be just “us”?
  3. An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways. Our lives are filled with contradictions, and that can be confusing. But the tensions can also open our hearts to new understandings of ourselves and our world.
  4. A sense of personal voice and agency. Many of us lack confidence in our own voices and in our power to make a difference … to help change something we think is broken. Yet it is possible for us, young and old alike, to find our voices and know the satisfaction that comes from contributing to positive change.
  5. A capacity to create community. Community can take many forms (school, church, town …), and it takes work. Palmer urges us all to become “gardeners of community”, if we want democracy to flourish. 

How lucky we are to be gardening in Lyme! We have such a strong and beautiful start.

With a hopeful heart,
Martha Tecca

603-795-0603 (CCL office)

Don’t forget: 

Mask Up, Lyme.

Mine’s for You, Yours is for Me … Let’s keep the virus out of Lyme and stay safe for school (and so much more we’re eager to get back to normal.) There’s now a Select Board resolution to wear masks in Lyme. If you need masks, call CommunityCare of Lyme at 795-0603 or email

Support our school and families.

Consider how you might contribute to making the school year safer, healthier, easier – just a little bit better – for somebody whose life is pretty darned complicated this crazy fall. (There are a lot of “somebodies.”) Look out for requests from the school, PTO, or individual parents. If you see the request, they’re inviting YOU. It’s a huge help to busy organizers when you respond directly and don’t wait for the personal call. You can also call us at 795-0603 to discuss ideas. We hope to help bring out broad, intergenerational community support. Now’s the time, Lyme!

We are here for you.

When you seek information, help, or ways to help others, contact us.
Call 795-0603 or email
Lyme Food Pantry or prepared meals. Deliveries or errands. Help around home. Masks. You name it.

Coming up this next week: 

As school nears, more is opening up; and more people are coming to Hanover and across the Upper Valley for the start of Dartmouth’s Fall semester. As you are out and about, please be thoughtful about how to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Wear a mask when you are in public. Continue to keep a safe distance. Stay home if you are sick at all. And please be kind, as you encourage others to practice safe behaviors. ❤️ ?.

Check out the growing listing of events on the Lyme Events Calendar online. We invite you to let us know about other things you think we should share. Following are just a few highlights.

Don’t miss:

  • Saturday (8/22):
    Lyme Historians Barn Open* open 10am-1pm. One-way through the newly renovated barn, with exhibits, plus maps and booklets for the Lyme schoolhouses self-guided tour.
  • Monday (8/24):
    VegiCare Drop-off, 8am-4pm at the horsesheds next to Lyme Congregational Church.

*NOTE: For any event that’s not online, please be prepared with a mask and clean hands or clean gloves.

We are here for you.
When you seek information, help, or ways to help others, contact us.

The Lyme Community Help Line:
call 795-0603 or email

Lyme Food Pantry or prepared meals. Deliveries or errands. Help around home. You name it.

Click here to check out the Lyme Events Calendar
Things are happening!